County to file bond claim on employee theft

bbashioum@demo-mo.comMay 24, 2013 

The Cass County Commission made a decision to file a performance bond claim after a former Circuit Clerk staff member reportedly stole nearly $6,674 from the county last year.

Emily Rumbley, 33, of Harrisonville, was formally charged in December with a Class C felony theft and was removed from her position as a clerk on Oct. 25, 2012.

Presiding Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit Bill Collins asked the county commission to determine if a circuit clerk performance bond existed to recover the court’s loss, in a letter dated May 9.

“I wanted to be transparent with regard to any of these claims that need to be addressed by the county commission,” Collins said.

Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox told the commission it is the opinion of county attorney Paul Campo that the county file a performance bond through RLI Surety during their regular meeting May 16.

A special prosecutor from Platte County who has been assigned to the case has submitted a plea agreement to Rumbley to pay restitution back to the county in the amount of $6,674, which includes court costs and fees, but according to Cox, the defendant doesn’t have the money immediately available.

“We figured at this point since restitution could be problematic as far as getting it up front, the prudent thing to do is to file a claim,” Cox said. “I’ve spoken a number of times with the assistant prosecutor of Platte County who is prosecuting the person on this and part of criminal process on this will include restitution to the county for the money that was stolen, the problem is the defendant doesn’t have the money right now to pay it up front, but would pay it back over time on a payment plan. The idea behind having the county file a performance bond is so we can attempt to recoup those funds now,” Cox said.

Once the claim is filed, RLI Surety will perform an investigation to determine if it is appropriate to pay the claim or not, he added.

Four bank deposits were allegedly stolen during July through October by Rumbley, who took the daily deposits to the bank as part of her duties.

The theft was discovered when a clerk, who usually did not prepare the deposit to the bank, was asked to substitute.

The substitute clerk had experience with preparing deposits when she was in the associate division prior to the court consolidation, and knew that a bank deposit receipt should be included in the bank bag, however, it was missing.

Upon questioning, the defendant retrieved the checks for the deposit in question, as well as checks from the three other deposits in the amount of $29,944.54, and returned them to the court and later deposited on Oct. 26, 2012. However, there was an estimated amount of $6,673.92 in cash still missing.

A plea agreement hearing is scheduled for Rumbley’s case on Friday, May 31, according to Case Net.

Cass County Circuit Clerk Amy Bell did not wish to comment on the matter.

As part of their investigation, OSCA did make a site visit to the Cass County Circuit Court during the weeks of Dec. 3-14. The reason for the visit was for a financial review at the request of the former 17th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Jacqueline Cook.

“The request for a financial review resulted from an alleged theft of funds from the court. Specifically, money was allegedly stolen while in transit to the bank for deposit by a court clerk,” said Court Business Services Accounting Coordinator Susan Shields in a Jan. 29 letter to Bell. “The suspected clerk’s financial transactions were reviewed in detail to see if any manipulation of the financial records could be detected. The review included, but was not limited to, compliance with financial related court operating rules, statutes and reviews of the courts internal controls.”

In an attached report, the state made a number of recommendations regarding the segregation of duties and supervisory reviews, deposit internal controls and supervision, receipt keeping, banking, end of the day/month procedures, and the management of fees, payment plans and court collections.

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