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WALLER COUNTY — In June of 2022, Waller Harris Counties Emergency Services District No. 200 (WHESD 200) received information indicating a number of district credit card statements had been altered before being submitted for review, and District financial reports were fraudulent and did not correctly reflect the fiscal status of the District.

This meant the Board of Commissioners and District command staff were receiving falsified financial statements for review at regular WHESD 200 public meetings.

Upon confronting a suspected employee with the initial evidence, the employee was immediately unwilling to assist the District in a full review of the District’s files, devices, and all accounts with online access. Over the course of a weekend, while the District’s IT department continued to retrieve financial data from the District’s online accounting software and purchasing accounts, the employee in question tendered their resignation.

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At the conclusion of the District’s internal investigation, the Board and command staff determined there was enough documented evidence of financial malfeasance to justify retaining an outside forensic auditing team to evaluate how much money was diverted from the District’s accounts. The District’s legal counsel, Coveler & Peeler, P.C., engaged a highly-respected independent forensic auditing firm to perform a deeper investigation of the District finances, reviewing transactions starting in the fall of 2020 through the summer of 2022.

Ultimately the firm engaged to perform the forensic audit and fiscal investigation, BDO, provided its opinion: there were at least $30,000 of goods and services misappropriated utilizing the District’s accounts over the two-year period reviewed.

The results of this investigation have been provided to Waller County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) for criminal examination. Waller-Harris Counties Emergency Services District No. 200 will cooperate with WCSO throughout the course of the investigation and support whatever conclusion they come to in regards to possible criminal charges.

A map showing the many fire departments that provide coverage throughout Waller County. (Courtesy Waller – Harris ESD 200)
A map showing the many fire departments that provide coverage throughout Waller County. (Courtesy Waller – Harris ESD 200)

Editor’s note: This article is from WHESD 200.

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