DHEC: We warned PAR about lack of financial controls

Lt. Roach asks for help from County Council. (Source: Deja Knight)
Lt. Roach asks for help from County Council. (Source: Deja Knight)

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The local nonprofit struggling with financial problems, People Against Rape, was made aware of a "lack of financial controls" by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control two years ago, according to a letter.

A letter from DHEC Director of Administration Barbara Derrick, addressed to PAR Board Chairman Lieutenant Michael Roach on Sept. 14, states, "As far back as 2010, the department raised concerns with you about the lack of financial controls, and yet insufficient action was taken to prevent fraudulent activity by a PAR employee."

Leaders for the nonprofit said they recently learned that a former employee submitted inaccurate and fraudulent requests for payment on several Department of Public Safety grants. In a press conference earlier this month, Roach said the former employee, who worked as a book keeper, did not pay rent and withheld taxes to the Department of Public Safety.

Officials said the employee is responsible for between $65,000 and $80,000 that's missing from the organization.

Organization officials also said requests for reimbursement for some bills and taxes that had not been paid were inappropriately submitted, and when PAR board members learned the requests for reimbursements had been inappropriately submitted, the organization contacted the IRS and confirmed that the bills had not been paid.

State and federal funding is being withheld until PAR can demonstrate safeguards are "put into place to ensure the proper use of funding."

No charges have been filed against the former book keeper.  The State Law Enforcement Division opened an investigation into the matter last week.

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