Audit reveals pattern of money mismanagement at WPD - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

Audit reveals pattern of money mismanagement for WPD special investigations

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – An audit obtained by WECT.com reveals that there may be a pattern at the Wilmington Police Department when it comes to the handling of money for undercover operations.

Earlier this week, we reported that the Wilmington Police Department started an internal investigation after they found violations of guidelines for documenting cash in undercover operations, as well as violations in the alcohol policy.

Friday afternoon, we obtained an earlier audit of the department's special investigative fund, which shows that this isn't the first time that problems were found with money that funds undercover operations.

Last year, Wilmington's auditor looked at 20% of transactions made using the investigative fund in 2011 and found that almost 40% had errors. The report found unauthorized and undocumented withdrawals from the narcotics unit's cash box, which is maintained by the Narcotics Enforcement Unit.

There were also unauthorized withdrawals from the unit's bank account.

Of the 34 samples tested, 24% did not have the proper supporting documentation as required by the WPD. 

On one occasion, cash was returned almost a year after it was checked out. The audit also found 2 instances of cash missing.

The auditor made a note in the report saying "turnover in the division is high creating on-going concerns in regard to the risk associated with the Special Investigative Fund"

In the audit, WPD wrote a response which blamed the deficiencies on human error.

The department also responded that almost half of the errors found were directly attributed to two investigators that are no longer assigned to the division.

A recent audit led to an internal investigation, which showed that officers who were undercover violated the department's policy on documenting money. The investigation also found the officers violated the department's policy on alcohol.

Up to this point, WPD still refuses to say if any disciplinary action was taken against any officers involved in the internal investigation. WPD also refuses to release the officers' names.

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