Board of Accounts auditors will follow procedure in case

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If in fact there is money missing from the accounts of the Switzerland County School Corporation, the most prominent question on the minds of residents is – why hasn’t an arrest been made?

Although the school corporation has asked the Indiana State Police to begin a criminal investigation in the matter, the school corporation has no power to file criminal charges against anyone – but the school corporation can file a civil lawsuit, which it did last Thursday in Jefferson County Circuit Court against corporation treasurer Ann Geyman.

Whether or not criminal charges will be filed is a question that may take weeks or months to answer.

Ron Robertson, field representative with the Indiana State Board of Accounts who is auditing the school’s books, says that his office will follow the official procedures that go with any audit that the agency handles.

If an audit does uncover a discrepancy in funds, the field representative then files an official report with the state office in Indianapolis. Once that agency receives the report from the field representative, it will be checked to see if officials at the state level agree with the field representative.

If the state office agrees, the report is then forwarded to the three individuals who actually comprise the State Board of Accounts.

If those officials, after reviewing the report, agree that there is money missing, the matter is forwarded to the Indiana Attorney General’s office. It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to act as the state’s attorney, and his office would then file a civil suit on the matter.

“At that time, bonding companies that are involved would be notified, and any person named in the report would be notified,” Ron Robertson said.

According to Ron Robertson, should the Attorney General’s office determine that the missing funds are a result of theft or other criminal activity, then the report is forwarded to the local prosecuting attorney – in this case Chad Lewis – who would then determine if criminal charges need to be brought against anyone.

How long does the process take?

Ron Robertson said that every case is different, but that a timeline is affected by the complexity of the case; how long the matter has been going on; and the number of transactions that the field representative has to go through.

“It varies,” Ron Robertson said. “We’re just at the very beginning. We’re gathering information.”

Ron Robertson did say that the process is moving along much more smoothly because of the outstanding cooperation that he has been receiving from school officials and also from MainSource Bank, where the school funds are held.

“We are way ahead of a normal schedule,” Ron Robertson said. “Had the school corporation not been so proactive in processing this, we would not be where we are now.”

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Criminal charges in the matter fall into two possibilities:

– The prosecuting attorney’s office will wait until the final report of the State Board of Accounts is finished and made public. After that report is submitted to Chad Lewis’ office by the Indiana Attorney General, it would provide the prosecuting attorney’s office with the information and evidence that it needs to pursue legal channels.

– The Indiana State Police, currently conducting an investigation at the request of the school corporation, could determine that enough evidence exists to take a probable cause affidavit to the prosecuting attorney. If the evidence appears strong from the police investigation, prosecutors could go ahead and file charges against individuals determined to be involved.