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REVENUE THEFT TIED TO SOFTWARE GLITCH
$2,700 IN GOLF FEES STOLEN BY CASHIER

An audit of the Erie County golf courses showed the county had inadequate safety measures to prevent a cashier at Grover Cleveland Golf Course from stealing about $2,700 in revenue from July to October of last year.

Comptroller Nancy Naples said a flaw in the computer program for tracking golf revenue allowed a cashier to repeatedly enter fictitious returns so she could pocket the cash.

While the Elma Meadows golf course voided only 20 transactions totaling $585 over the entire seven-month golf season last year, the Grover Cleveland golf course voided 220 transactions worth $4,141 from June 7 to the end of the season, according to the recently released report.

The former cashier was charged with grand larceny and allowed to plead to a lesser charge in exchange for making full restitution, said county officials who refused to release her name.

The comptroller's office began looking at procedures for handling parks revenue last spring as the county was preparing to take over the city parks, Naples said. In the course of doing the audit, the Grover Cleveland theft case surfaced, she said.

While the county notified the Sheriff's Department and had the cashier arrested when a parks superintendent noticed the problem, Naples faulted parks officials for not immediately contacting her office regarding the theft so that her office could investigate.

"There is an obligation to bring the comptroller into these matters," she said.

The audit recommended that steps be taken to fix the glitch in the software system. It also recommended more supervisory oversight of voided transactions.

Parks Commissioner Angelo Sedita said virtually all of the comptroller's recommendations have been adopted.

The Florida-based software company that provides the fee-tracking software has corrected the flaw, which will prevent any similar occurrences, Sedita said. In addition, cashiers will no longer be able to open their register drawers in cases where no money changes hands, such as if a golfer is using a pass.

Of course, there's no telling if or when these changes will go into effect since the county's golf courses and parks are closed because of the budget crisis. A proposal to reopen the golf courses by raising fees remains before the Legislature.

e-mail: stan@buffnews.com

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