“A staggering $19 million was stolen from clearing accounts owned by the Kern Community College District and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office,” The Bakersfield Californian reported March 7, citing an announcement from Kern County Treasurer-Tax Collector Jordan Kaufman.
Most of the money, $16.4 million, was stolen from the college district account, Mr. Kaufman said. Another $2.6 million was stolen from the superintendent’s office.
On the plus side, Mr. Kaufman said $12 million has been recovered.
Mr. Kaufman added that he checked with the Kern County district attorney and the federal law enforcement agents investigating the criminal portion of the fraud to make sure telling the public about the size of the theft of taxpayer dollars would not compromise efforts to catch the thieves.
“The fraud, which was discovered in early February, rocked the county treasury system and the two school districts,” the Californian reported. “According to previous statements by Kaufman, the money was stolen over the course of two to three years.”
A Californian investigation revealed that the accounts from which the money was stolen had not been reconciled for years.
No one from the Treasurer-Tax Collector's office or either school district was looking at the individual transactions from the accounts to make sure all the payments being made were valid. (Source: The Bakersfield Californian, March 7.)