Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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Residents can report fraud via hotline

In the wake of the iPad theft scandal, the Monroe County Clerk's Office has set up a fraud hotline so residents can anonymously report government fraud, waste, abuse and ethical misconduct.

Regular audits and strict internal controls can deter and detect fraud, but research shows the best means is through anonymous tips, Clerk of Court Amy Heavilin said.

People can report violations of federal, state or local laws, rules and regulations, misappropriation of money and equipment, mismanagement and public waste, Heavilin said.

Investigations are stopped as soon as the complaint investigator reaches the level of evidence that either validates a claim or proves it to be false. If a claim is unsubstantiated, the report will be closed and no further action taken, Heavilin said.

"We can identify issues, but we cannot prosecute," she said. "But if it is criminal, we will take it to the powers that be (county, state and federal law enforcement agencies)."

The hotline should not be used for general complaints, suggestions or personnel issues, Heavilin said.

The Clerk's Office recommended the hotline as part of an audit and internal investigation into the theft of roughly 50 county-owned iPads and iPhones last year.

The investigation led to former County Technical Services Director Lisa Druckemiller being charged criminally.

She was arrested July 17 after a grand jury indicted her on charges of dealing in stolen property and scheming to defraud.

She is free on $30,000 bail, waiting to plead guilty before a judge and be sentenced.

She is slated to go before a judge next week, but it was unclear on Tuesday if that appearance is when she will make the plea.

Hotline complaints can be emailed to psellers@monroe-clerk.com, mailed to Clerk of the Courts, c/o Internal Audit Division, P.O. Box 1980, Key West, FL 33040, called in to 305-295-3190, or delivered in person at 500 Whitehead St.

tohara@keysnews.com

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