On January 8, 2020, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor posted the City of Winnfield Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. The financial report is designed to provide the citizens, customers, investors ,and creditors with a general overview of the city’s finances.
The time frame covered by the report was during the previous mayor’s administration as the current mayor was not elected until April of 2018. The Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) at the beginning of the report reflects that overall the city was in fair financial shape. However, when you jump down to the end of the report starting on page 66 it starts to tell a different story with words like fraud, misappropriation of funds, as well as no and inadequate internal control systems.
According to the report, cash receipts for the city’s landfill fees were misappropriated from February – August of 2018 in the amount of $3865.70. The report details that the person believed to have committed the misappropriation was Landfill Operator, Cheryl McLaughlin. According to the mayor’s office, Mrs. McLaughlin is no longer employed by the city. City of Winnfield Police records indicate that Mrs. McLaughlin was arrested on September 10, 2018, on charges for Theft Under $1000 and Malfeasance and her bail was set at $4000. Winn Parish Court records indicate that a final plea hearing is set for February 20, 2020, and for a jury trial on February 24, 2020.
The Summary of Audit Results disclosed three material weaknesses in internal control and three instances of noncompliance that are required to be reported by the auditors under Government Auditing Standards.
The city’s response to the audit was that they have hired a CPA firm to provide guidance and support on their accounting system and have also changed to a different software package that is more user-friendly.
Download the full report here.