Cleveland Co. Sheriff's Office Audit Alleges Major Mistakes

Tuesday, September 12th 2017, 6:28 pm

By: Karl Torp

A state audit finds some financial mismanagement within the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office.

The audit was called after Sheriff Joe Lester filed a lawsuit against the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners- claiming it was not properly funding the jail.

State Auditors allege several examples of funds being mismanaged.

“It rises to the level of being pretty egregious,” says Ok. State Auditor Gary Jones.

The audit says the Sheriff’s Office did not properly bill the Dept. of Corrections for prisoners it housed in the amount of $243,837. The Sheriff’s Office cannot recoup that money.

The audit says the Sheriff’s Office overpaid $162,517 in prisoner medical costs. The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office blames a software error.

The audit also found an issue with department vehicles.

According to the report, 48 operating vehicles were not properly insured, while 37 vehicles taken out of commission were still properly insured.

Jones says the Sheriff Office could have balanced it’s budget from 2011 to 2016 if bill keeping and paperwork was properly managed.

“You can see that revenue over that time went up $500,000 and expenses went up about $1.5 million,” says Jones.

Sheriff Joe Lester says during the audit process corrections were made.

However the Sheriff is not providing details. In in statement to News 9, the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office say’s Sheriff Lester can’t comment due to pending litigation with the Cleveland County Board of Commissioners.


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