CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—The State Auditor’s Office and the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office are working together to audit and investigate the financial activities of several Logan County fire departments. State Auditor John McCuskey announced the investigation in a release on Tuesday, saying that the investigation was recently made public by Logan County Prosecuting Attorney David Wandling.
“This is only one of many examples when we have worked with local partners in Logan County, and continue to address a host of issues,” McCuskey said “While we are still in the investigation phase, we cannot say specifically what or who has done something wrong. However, when we find those answers, the public will know.”
According to the release, the State Auditor’s Office has been conducting financial examinations of every volunteer fire department in the state. The office is offering free accounting software and the opportunity for departments to participate in the State Purchasing Card program. This program is monitored daily for internal and external fraud.
The Auditor’s Office says that many fire departments have enrolled in these theft-prevention programs, but some of them have chosen not to participate. Local prosecutors called upon the State Auditor to forensically determine the cause and scope of fraud in departments that did not take preventive measures.
“The threat of fraud is ever-present. When large amounts of money are made available through federal funds to our towns and municipalities, such as the American Rescue Plan, there must be monitoring programs in place to protect against fraud,” McCuskey said. “Those funds are intended to go to a specific purpose and not for any personal use. If you are stealing from the government, you will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
The Auditor’s Office advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Those who are aware of fraudulent activities are asked to call 833-WV-FRAUD or file an anonymous tip online at www.wvsao.gov.