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SDPD $1 million missing from money seized in crimes: Forensic audit requested

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The San Diego Police Department is missing $1 million in money seized from drug dealers and other criminals. Not only is this missing million dollars haunting the police department today, but the way that it was discovered missing is also a bit of an embarrassment. It was the media that pointed out that the money is gone and unaccounted for, reports NBC San Diego on May 24.

This missing million was found by the “U-T Watchdog,” which reviews documents that involve the “forfeited assets” taken from drug dealers and other crimes that warrant money and property seizures. They follow the paper trail to make sure the new found money is accounted for.

The U.S. Treasury and Justice Department programs share the forfeited assets with state and local law enforcement. The documents should show the entire journey of that money from start to finish, but not in this case. The SDPD's closing treasury balance for their 2010 fiscal year was $1, 153, 426 and their opening balance for the following fiscal year was $153, 426.

There is $1 million unaccounted for, it is like it just disappeared from one fiscal year to the next. The missing million has not shown up on paper. The CEO of San Diego County Taxpayers Association, Sean Karafin, said he wasn’t worried about the million dollars, it could be that someone “didn’t hit a certain number on the keyboard.” This would be the best case scenario for City Hall, suggests Karafin.

The CW from San Diego reports that SDPD spokesperson Lt. Kevin Mayer said:

"We acknowledge you have noted a discrepancy. We have asked the City Comptroller to do a complete review and audit of the seized asset fund to see if there is an error."

Karafin expresses that his concern is why this wasn’t caught sooner. It has been four years and it was the media who found the discrepancy, not anyone from accounting within the city. Because this is a case of just one missing number, folks were suggesting that it was just a simple mistake when entering the numbers on a keyboard.

This could very much be the case, it is easy to see where someone could have deleted or adding that “1” in front of the $53,426 by mistake. The city is still going to have to show where this happened, and the books have to balance. Matt Awbrey, who is Communications Chief for Mayor Kevin Faulconer said this “demands immediate attention.”

He also said that a “forensic accounting analysis” will take place regarding the missing $1 million. This is $1 million to the penny missing, which would point more to a flick of a wrong key in accounting, but to be sure, the back tracking on paperwork will begin with this audit.

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