Louisiana’s Department of Public Safety says it has taken steps to address problems detailed in a new state audit, including a lack of financial controls that led to misappropriation of more than $69,000 by three Office of Motor Vehicle employees who were fired and arrested.
The report from the Legislative Auditor also found there were inadequate technology controls in a system that processed more than $700 million in revenue from riverboat casinos and motor vehicle offices.
That created the potential for improper reporting of revenue and unauthorized access to confidential data — although the audit found no instances in which that had happened.
In a response, department undersecretary Jill Boudreaux outlined technological and policy changes aimed at correcting the problems.
The financial review was for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The misappropriation of Office of Motor Vehicle money was discovered after motorists who made payments to have their drivers’ licenses reinstated and their records cleared of driving violations discovered that their records had not been cleared. Officials eventually learned that transactions had either not been posted or had been modified in the OMV computer system.
“OMV lacked adequate controls, including proper cash handling procedures and management oversight in field offices, to prevent or timely detect the misappropriation of public funds,” the audit said. “The lack of cash handling controls and proper oversight increases the risk that fraud could occur and not be detected in a timely manner and that assets are not properly safeguarded.”
In response, Boudreaux said the OMV has implemented a computer fraud monitoring program. She also described steps to limit access to confidential data.
State police said cases against the three employees — a Jefferson Parish OMV employee arrested in January, a Chalmette OMV employee arrested in May, and a Hammond OMV employee arrested in July — remain open. Boudreaux, in an Oct. 9 letter to auditors, said OMV was taking steps to recover the money.
Boudreaux also acknowledged another issue cited in the audit: a lack of testing of disaster recovery systems to make sure critical Department of Public Safety operations and data can be restored in a disaster. She said there are weekly backups and replications of data and she outlined steps to store the data so it can be recovered, if needed, during a disaster.
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