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Forensic Audit

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NEWS
December 19, 2010 | By Jeff Shields, Inquirer Staff Writer
With auditors unable to account for millions of dollars in transactions at the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office over the last decade, City Controller Alan Butkovitz is looking for professional fraud specialists to delve deep into the sheriff's books. Butkovitz issued a request Friday for proposals from "certified fraud examiners" to conduct a forensic audit of the office. In October, he demanded a thorough probe of Sheriff John Green's office after finding in an audit that the office staff had failed to provide documentation for more than $53 million in bank accounts.
NEWS
April 12, 2000 | By Deborah Bolling, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
The Borough Council has begun interviewing prospective auditors to conduct an investigation into allegations that borough funds may have been mishandled. At Monday's caucus meeting, representatives of the Philadelphia auditing firm Mitchell & Titus L.L.P. spoke about conducting a forensic audit of the borough's finance department. The audit, they said, could determine whether any improprieties occurred. In January, then-Borough Solicitor Robert J. Sugarman said that more than $686,000 disappeared from a borough bank account last year, and that sewer fees for November and December 1999 were illegally paid with money from a borough investment fund.
NEWS
November 16, 2010 | By Jennifer Lin and Jeff Shields, Inquirer Staff Writers
After more than two months of poring over the books at the Philadelphia Housing Authority, federal auditors will expand the scope of their investigation and conduct a deeper probe of the agency's operations, according to sources familiar with the situation. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will conduct a so-called forensic audit of the housing authority, sources said. A person with knowledge of the audit said specialized investigators would be brought in to begin a more detailed review of specific aspects of PHA business.
NEWS
September 30, 1998 | By Rich Henson, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Attorney General Mike Fisher yesterday petitioned Chester County Orphans Court to order Lincoln University to perform a forensic audit of its spending for the last 11 years, Fisher's spokesman, Sean Connolly, said. "We want an accounting of every penny in and every penny that went out," Connolly said. "We asked the Orphans' Court to direct them to comply. " The accounting could be the most exhaustive look yet into spending at the southern Chester County school, which has been reeling in recent months from allegations of financial improprieties.
NEWS
December 21, 2010
P HILADELPHIA SHERIFF John Green announced that he was hiring a respected consulting firm to fix his office's broken accounting system. It was Green's response to a series of scathing city audits that said financial controls in his department "were so inadequate that fiscal data 'could not be meaningfully analyzed,' and that millions of dollars in funds were 'susceptible' to theft. " These words, from an Inquirer report, may hold no shock for anyone paying attention to the recent travails of the sheriff's office -including Friday's announcement by Controller Alan Butkovitz that he's looking for fraud specialists to conduct a forensic audit of the office - but they shock us: they first appeared in 2003.
NEWS
January 8, 2011 | By CATHERINE LUCEY, BOB WARNER & CHRIS BRENNAN, luceyc@phillynews.com 215-854-4172
Acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley yesterday announced a major reorganization of the embattled Sheriff's Office, moving to dismiss several top staffers and bringing in a former city controller to serve as her No. 2. Deeley also said that sheriff's sales would be suspended for 50 days. The changes came a week after longtime Sheriff John Green retired and Deeley was nominated to takeover the office, which is facing a forensic audit. Deeley hired Joe Vignola as her chief deputy. Vignola - who did a stint in the Sheriff's Office in 2006 to help improve the ethical climate - said he would focus on helping the office comply with the pending audit ordered by City Controller Alan Butkovitz.
NEWS
October 28, 2010 | By BOB WARNER, warnerb@phillynews.com 215-854-5885
Seeking to calm a dispute with the City Controller's Office, Philadelphia Sheriff John Green yesterday said he was postponing his imminent retirement to ensure cooperation on a forensic audit of the Sheriff's Office. "Sometimes plans are made to be broken," Green told reporters at a hastily called news conference. "In this case I feel compelled [to stay on] to get this situation completely satisfied so that people have complete confidence in the Sheriff's Office, in its handling of funds.
NEWS
January 4, 2011 | By CHRIS BRENNAN, brennac@phillynews.com 215-854-5973
THERE'S a new sheriff in town but the allegations of serious financial mismanagement remain the same. Sheriff John Green, a city employee since 1969 and sheriff since 1988, resigned on Friday. Gov. Rendell yesterday nominated Green's chief of staff, Barbara Deeley, to serve as the city's first female sheriff. Deeley is left to deal with a dispute with the City Controller's Office over an attempted audit of bank accounts held by the Sheriff's Office. Green first told Democratic ward leaders in June that he was stepping down before his sixth term ended in January 2012.
NEWS
October 14, 1993 | By Henry J. Holcomb, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Paul D. Sariego, 34, was sentenced yesterday to spend four weekends in jail and five years on probation for stealing $135,000 from his employer, the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, a state-owned agency. His lawyer, Richard L. Scheff, argued unsuccessfully that Sariego was entitled to a lighter sentence because he had returned the stolen money, cooperated in the investigation, and reported misconduct by politicians connected with the port authority. For political reasons, those misdeeds are not being prosecuted, Scheff said.
NEWS
September 28, 2013 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
A community group has sued the city, the state, the state Department of Education and the Philadelphia School Reform Commission on behalf of special-education students who attended schools that closed in June. The suit, which was filed in Commonwealth Court in February, had sought to prevent the SRC from closing 24 schools in June on grounds that the district had failed to provide new individual learning plans for as many as 2,000 special-education students in those schools as is required by law. Representatives from the group, 7000 Villagers, said Thursday that the court has scheduled arguments in the case for Oct. 8 in Philadelphia.
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NEWS
September 28, 2013 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
A community group has sued the city, the state, the state Department of Education and the Philadelphia School Reform Commission on behalf of special-education students who attended schools that closed in June. The suit, which was filed in Commonwealth Court in February, had sought to prevent the SRC from closing 24 schools in June on grounds that the district had failed to provide new individual learning plans for as many as 2,000 special-education students in those schools as is required by law. Representatives from the group, 7000 Villagers, said Thursday that the court has scheduled arguments in the case for Oct. 8 in Philadelphia.
NEWS
November 21, 2012
Despite the demand for more government transparency, Pennsylvania public officials can't seem to shed a culture of secrecy that protects an elite. That helps explain how a felon's family business could get a fortune from taxpayers. The state funneled $1 million in taxpayer funds to renovate a Delaware County nursing home controlled by the family of former Philadelphia City Councilman Leland Beloff, whose 1987 extortion conviction is legendary. Working with former mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, Beloff tried to strong-arm the late Willard Rouse, one of the city's most renowned developers.
NEWS
February 21, 2012
By Christopher Paslay There's an old saying that weighing a cow doesn't make it fatter. When it comes to educational testing in Pennsylvania, however, Gov. Corbett may beg to differ. His proposed 2012-13 budget calls for a 43 percent increase in funding for educational assessments, to $52 million, even as it keeps school funding generally flat and cuts spending on state-related universities. The timing of this increase is interesting. Last year, a forensic audit of the 2009 state exams flagged 38 school districts and 10 charter schools for possible cheating; nearly half of them are still under investigation.
NEWS
March 10, 2011 | By Mark Fazlollah and Jennifer Lin, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Woodlands Inn bills itself as an upscale resort, and for Carl R. Greene, it was the ideal place to hold annual retreats, to discuss how to house Philadelphia's poorest residents while dining on filet mignon and creole crab cakes. In 2009 alone, the Philadelphia Housing Authority spent more than $76,000 on two retreats, not including $3,350 paid to Ballard Spahr for one of its partners to advise senior staff on government housing regulations. In the evening, Greene insisted that everyone participate in group events, including karaoke singing at the resort's Executive Lounge or dancing at its Evolution Nightclub.
NEWS
March 8, 2011 | By BOB WARNER, warnerb@phillynews.com 215-854-5885
Democratic ward leaders, City Council members, labor leaders, clergy and political operatives turned out yesterday in City Hall to bless state Rep. Jewell Williams' campaign for Philadelphia sheriff. Even Williams seemed a bit awed by the support. "In politics, you don't really get this kind of accolades until you're lying flat in a box," he joked. But the event was an unofficial requiem of sorts - for a City Council proposal setting up a public referendum on whether to abolish the sheriff as one of the city's independent elected officials.
NEWS
March 2, 2011 | By Jennifer Lin and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development expects to take action against the Philadelphia Housing Authority's board once it receives information from three audits now under way, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said Tuesday. Donovan did not spell out HUD's options. But the investigations, he said, "will tell us what specifics we have that will allow us to take action against the board. " The secretary made his remarks after testifying at a HUD budget hearing before the House Financial Services Committee.
NEWS
March 1, 2011 | By Jennifer Lin and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
After failing last week to persuade the Philadelphia Housing Authority's board to step down voluntarily, federal housing administrators now have several options, all of which would give them greater control over the Philadelphia agency. People familiar with how the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development operates, including former senior officials, say it could: Force the removal of the board and temporarily replace the members with one or more HUD appointees. Strip PHA of its autonomy to spend money as a special "Moving To Work" agency.
NEWS
January 13, 2011 | By Marcia Gelbart and Jeff Shields, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is reviewing whether to transfer responsibility for sheriff's sales to the city court system, in response to reports of gross financial mismanagement in the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office. Common Pleas Court President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe said she was convinced it was an added responsibility that Philadelphia's courts, known formally as the First Judicial District, could handle. And she said there was precedent, with the Supreme Court's granting city courts last year the authority to take over services previously provided by the now-abolished Clerk of Quarter Sessions Office.
NEWS
January 8, 2011 | By CATHERINE LUCEY, BOB WARNER & CHRIS BRENNAN, luceyc@phillynews.com 215-854-4172
Acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley yesterday announced a major reorganization of the embattled Sheriff's Office, moving to dismiss several top staffers and bringing in a former city controller to serve as her No. 2. Deeley also said that sheriff's sales would be suspended for 50 days. The changes came a week after longtime Sheriff John Green retired and Deeley was nominated to takeover the office, which is facing a forensic audit. Deeley hired Joe Vignola as her chief deputy. Vignola - who did a stint in the Sheriff's Office in 2006 to help improve the ethical climate - said he would focus on helping the office comply with the pending audit ordered by City Controller Alan Butkovitz.
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