Three charged with embezzling money from City of Spencer
SPENCER — The Oklahoma County District Attorney's office filed embezzlement charges against two former employees and one current employee of the City of Spencer Friday. This was the result of a nearly eight-month audit by the State Auditor's Office.According to auditors former city clerk Shenice Huff was issued two payroll checks for about $2,400 not accounted for in payroll records. Her deputy, Andrew Thompson is accused of taking four checks for more than $3,800. Auditors say there was nearly no oversight to the payroll system and that Huff and Thompson had easy access to it.Investigators say Lakeita Barbee wrote off more than $715 worth of utility services she received. They say she made changes through the utility billing software to stop getting charged for utilities at her home."When we come on the other side of the audit, we will know better about what we need to do on a daily basis," Spencer city manager Nicole Mukes said. "We're looking at it as an opportunity to do better by the citizens of Spencer."Auditors told Mukes these kinds of incidents are not uncommon in small towns, because they lack some of the resources bigger cities have. Mukes says since that audit, some changes have already been implemented within city hall. She said the city is also looking into making other changes like switching to direct deposit for payroll or to online utility payments."I think that the citizens should still feel comfortable about the leadership of the city. I think that they should feel comfortable to utilize the businesses," she said.
The audits started in 2012, and found some discrepancies dating back to 2011.