Metropolitan Detention Center

Metropolitan Detention Center Seeks to Locate Former Inmates Impacted by Misappropriation of Inmate Funds

12/01/2020

The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) is trying to locate 99 former inmates to return misappropriated money that should have been refunded to the inmates when they were released from MDC between 2013 through 2019.

In February 2019, MDC records staff discovered discrepancies and irregularities that ultimately allowed a former employee to possibly embezzle over $15,000 from inmate trust accounts. Inmate trust accounts are personal accounts inmates use to buy commissary snacks, toiletries and pay for some services while incarcerated at MDC.

The misappropriation of funds was discovered when a MDC supervisor began investigating an inmate’s claim that they did not receive a refund of monies, upon release from custody, that had been deposited into their trust account.

A suspected employee appeared to be improperly creating refund debit cards. A county-initiated independent forensic audit found at least $15,666.33 had been misappropriated from the inmate trust accounts.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office conducted an investigation into the alleged theft and submitted it to the District Attorney’s office.

The misappropriation was reported to the Office of the State Auditor on March 1, 2019 and the Bernalillo County Audit Committee. The Bernalillo County internal auditors and external auditors were also notified. In March 2019 the county hired REDW to perform forensic audit services, including:

  • Conducting interviews with key personnel to gain a current understanding of the system, processes, procedures and internal controls related to the intake of inmate personal property, cash handling and reconciliation, abandoned property, and cash and property disbursement.
  • Inspect and review relevant data and documents, focusing on but not limited to debit card transactions.
  • Conduct a transactional analysis/testing of transactions related to cash intake and disbursement.
  • Issue a summary of observations based on our inspection, review, and analysis.

“We would like to apologize to all the individuals impacted by this unfortunate situation. As we strive to maintain the highest of standards we have put safeguards in place to prevent this kind of fraudulent activity from occurring in the future” says “MDC Chief Greg Richardson”.

As a result of the audit, the following corrective action has been implemented:

  • Employees are emailed a temporary login into inmate trust account system and are required to change their password upon receipt. Employees no longer have access to other employee’s passwords.
  • No employee is allowed remote access into inmate trust account system. Staff can only access the system on site at MDC.
  • The equipment and debit cards are kept in the cash accounting office under surveillance and inventoried.
  • Segregation of the following duties:
    • cash account responsible for processing inmate debit card and check release transactions
    • fiscal program supervisor responsible for processing monthly check payment transaction
    • program administrator responsible for monthly reconciliation of inmate trust account
    • Treasury reviews and approves reconciliation
  • Chief financial officer responsible for running a report prior to the end of each fiscal year of all abandoned accounts. A check for the total along with the escheatment report will be sent to the state’s Unclaimed Property Division annually.

The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) is making efforts to contact former inmates who may have been impacted. Registered mail will be sent to last known addresses.

Individuals who had inmate trust accounts and believe they may be owed a refund, should contact the New Mexico Tax and Revenue Departments website by using the link below to search for unclaimed property.

http://tax.newmexico.gov/

http://tax.newmexico.gov/Individuals/search-unclaimed-property.aspx

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