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CINDY BYRD RELEASES AUDIT FOR TOWN OF JONES

CINDY BYRD RELEASES AUDIT FOR TOWN OF JONES

 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (January 2, 2024)

Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd today released her investigative audit report for the Town of Jones in Oklahoma County. The Town Board of Trustees requested the State Auditor & Inspector’s Office (SA&I) to perform an investigative audit of municipal court transactions.

The audit found, between January 2016 and December 2019, the Town of Jones failed to deposit $59,683 worth of municipal fines and fees. The Court Clerk’s office received the money but did not deposit the funds and record the collections to the Offender Data Information System (ODIS) as required by law.

Court Clerk Tammy Wallace, and former Deputy Clerks Pam Lucas and Brenda Rowlett, collected court fines and fees for citations issued by the Jones Police Department. Town records, including citation payment receipts, were missing or unaccounted for, citation amounts were manipulated, and corresponding payments were recorded in amounts less than received from defendants. Many payments were deleted from ODIS, changed, or not posted at all.

“This situation was easily preventable. There was little-to-no oversight over the entire court process,” Auditor Cindy Byrd explained. “Court fines and fees are earmarked for the purpose of strengthening public safety. The findings of our audit clearly show that a person or persons in the Jones Court Clerk’s office abused the trust of the taxpayers by misappropriating a large amount of funds. As a result, the citizens of Jones are left to pay for critical government services that should have been funded with fines.”

According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, agents interviewed Pam Lucas in November 2021. At that time, Lucas admitted she had misappropriated funds from the Town of Jones, altered documents, and fraudulently changed citation amounts in ODIS. However, of the $59,683 in unposted payments, $21,213 occurred after Lucas was terminated in February 2019.

The full audit report is posted here on the Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector’s official website.

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