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Iowa audit: Ex-school official issued $217K in checks to herself

A central Iowa school district business manager cut unauthorized checks to herself for nearly $217,000 over the course of about five years, state auditors wrote in a report forwarded to prosecutors.

Posted: Aug. 28, 2018 11:25 AM

WOODWARD, Iowa (AP) — A central Iowa school district business manager cut unauthorized checks to herself for nearly $217,000 over the course of about five years, state auditors wrote in a report forwarded to prosecutors.

The auditors identified more than $270,000 in improper and unsupported disbursements by the Woodward-Granger Community School District over that time, including the 101 checks the now former manager, Melissa Lantz, issued to herself on top of her authorized paychecks, the report states. Those additional checks, which weren't approved by the school board, ranged from $315 to $6,500.

District officials who were concerned about Lantz's actions requested the audit. She was placed on administrative leave last August and resigned six days later. Lantz didn't immediately reply to a Tuesday phone message seeking comment.

The report has been forwarded to law enforcement authorities, including Dallas County prosecutors. Online court records don't show that Lantz has been charged with a crime and the Dallas County attorney, Wayne Reisetter, didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press.

Auditors said it was impossible to determine whether more payroll checks were improperly issued, because time sheets before June 15, 2013, were not available. It also wasn't possible to determine whether all district collections were properly deposited, because sufficient records were not available, the report said.

In addition to the $217,000 in unauthorized checks, the audit found improper disbursements including nearly $12,000 in health and dental insurance premiums that were paid for people after they had stopped working for the district and $14 for excess mileage in a reimbursement check issued to Lantz.

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