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Theft Allegations Lead to Call for Pool Pass Transparency

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Copyright 2014 The Palm Beach Newspapers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Palm Beach Post (Florida)
By Jennifer Sorentrue Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department is in the process of changing the way it processes prepaid pool passes and reconciles cash registers, following allegations that a cashier may have been stealing money from a county pool in Delray Beach.

In a 10-page report released Friday, the countywide Office of the Inspector General said it was "impossible" to tell whether money was taken from the cash register at the county's Aqua Crest pool on Seacrest Boulevard.

The inspector general's office found that a cashier at the pool provided false information when she asked a manager to sign a "void approval form."

The cashier did not return a call for comment Friday. She resigned her post last month when officials from the inspector general's office questioned her about the voided transaction. She denied any wrongdoing at that time.

The inspector general's office launched its investigation in December, after it was contacted by officials with the Parks and Recreation Department, who alleged that the cashier may have been stealing money from the cash register.

The allegations were reviewed by the State Attorney's Office, which decided the issues could be handled administratively by the inspector general and county officials.

County officials who work at the pool alleged that the cashier pocketed money from swimmers who paid in cash by indicating on cash register receipts that the customer had paid with a prepaid pool pass.

In its report, the inspector general's office found that "operating methods in place at the Aqua Crest Pool facility made it impossible to identify individual transactions specifically attributed to (the cashier's) actions. As such we were unable to support the allegation that (the cashier) falsely entered cash paying customers as those of pool pass paying customers in order to divert the funds for her own personal use."

However, the investigation found that the cashier gave a pool manager false information about a $6.36 transaction that she voided from the register in January. She voided the transaction 2 1/2 hours after entering it into the register. She told investigators that the customers had prepaid passes and no money should have been entered into the register.

The inspector general's office found no cash register record indicating that the customers had prepaid passes, the report said.

She also told investigators that she occasionally would wait until several customers paid the user fee or presented a prepaid card before inputting those transactions into the cash register.

She told investigators she would leave money from cash-paying customers on the counter next to the cash register until there were multiple transactions. The inspector general's office said she was not able to provide a reason or justification for why she entered transactions in that manner.

Flora Butler, acting director of investigations for the inspector general's office, said that during the course of the investigation, the parks officials updated their policies so that all transactions can be attributed to a particular employee.

The department is also in the process of creating an electronic system for prepaid pool passes that will track usage.

jsorentrue@pbpost.com Twitter: @sorentruepbp

 

March 1, 2014

 

 
 

 

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