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Forensic auditor has something to report, but what?

January 16, 2013 - It appears the forensic auditor hired by Oxford Village last year to investigate missing public funds has found something, but exactly what is the question.

"A public release of my information is not recommended for this ongoing criminal investigation," wrote Karl Haiser, co-owner of the Ann Arbor-based Michigan Forensic Accounting, Inc., in a Jan. 7 memo to village Manager Joe Young.

"My findings include more than the village fund. The village council attorney Robert Bunting needs to review the final report and advise."

Haiser did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Council hired Haiser back in July 2012 to investigate village tax/cash collections. Of interest at the time was $20,594 in missing property tax monies from 2010, which included $4,217 in cash payments from nine taxpayers and $16,377 in check payments from 24 taxpayers.

Back then, Young speculated that the $16,377 in check payments were deposited in the wrong municipal accounts – and not posted to the tax system – as a way to cover up potentially stolen cash payments for other things like water and sewer bills.

In his memo, Haiser indicated he spoke with the Michigan State Police on Jan. 4 regarding his findings. He noted he was of the understanding that the current two-year investigation regarding missing/potentially embezzled village funds was an open case with the state police. "I was told the process and (a) complaint must be filed again by the village council," he wrote.

In 2011, the Michigan State Police investigated an embezzlement case involving village tax and police funds that resulted in criminal charges against former Deputy Clerk Marion Patricia Paad. A jury acquitted Paad of all criminal charges last year and she's now suing the village in U.S. District Court for violating her constitutional rights and malicious prosecution.

Whether or not Haiser's report has anything to do with Paad has not been disclosed.

When asked if he knows what Haiser is planning to report, Young replied, "I have no idea."

Haiser was supposed to address the village council at its Jan. 8 meeting, but was unable to attend due to illness. Young hopes Haiser will be able to come before council at its Jan. 22 meeting.

Haiser was also hired to investigate a discrepancy between village and county records concerning $8,550 in tax revenue that the Downtown Development Authority should have received, but did not, between 2005 and 2007. He's expected to report on that as well.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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