The Greenville Independent School District may become the focus of a criminal investigation after an external forensic audit found evidence of financial fraud, theft and misconduct.
“We realize that our financial house has to get in order,” said Dr. Demetrus Liggins, GISD superintendent.
Addison based CA Forensics, which conducted the audit, said investigators “found sufficient evidence to conclude that former GISD officials engaged in cronyism, misappropriation of payroll assets, misconduct to include mismanagement and abuse of position, and theft by gift of taxpayer monies.”
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“The audit focused mostly on, and it found most of it was in payroll, where there had been some financial improprieties,” said Liggins, who joined the district in April 2017.
For now, the forensic audit itself remains under wraps, but Liggins plans to share the full report with the Hunt County District Attorney on Tuesday.
“We will be discussing some of the findings in the audit and then it will be up to him to move forward with that as he sees fit.”
With 6,000 students, the school district in Hunt County has a budget of $48 million.
The district’s current deficit is approaching $3 million, and that’s on top of a $6.4 million shortfall last year.
“We’re doing everything we can to make absolutely sure that we are being stewards of the district’s finances,” said Liggins. “As superintendent, that is a priority of mine to insure that if one cent is missing that we find it and we recover it for our students.”
The report also found there’s no record of how $54 million in bond money was spent, with no invoices or cancelled checks.
“That is something that we’re having done as a full audit to actually look at bond funds and to see if there is an issue at all,” said Liggins.
The Hunt County District Attorney said he will most likely refer the forensic audit to the Greenville Police Department to begin what could become a criminal investigation.