An independent investigation found Parlier Unified mismanaged funds

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The Parlier Unified School District is under fire after an independent investigation uncovered mismanagement of funds. (KFSN)

The Parlier Unified School District is under fire after an independent investigation uncovered mismanagement of funds. That audit has taken eight months to be completed and it all started after a grand jury report last year raised red flags about fraud.

The nearly 100-page report was done by Financial Crisis and Management Assistance Team or FCMAT-- an independent auditor who was hired by the Fresno County Office of Education. The report was done after a grand jury report last year found numerous red flags within the Parlier Unified School District.

"Governance, account payable, receipts, payroll there's just many things that need to be looked into," said Jim Yovino, Fresno County Office of Education.

And those things led to some alarming findings. The report analyzed transactions for fiscal years 2012 to 2013 through 2014 to 2015.

"I can't say one stands out more than the other, they are all concerning," said Yovino.

FCMAT adds an example of inappropriate use of money, when close to $3,000 of title I money was spent on prizes for parent meetings. Detailing the purchases of Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande CD's-- even mentioning the purchase of a Kindle.

Then there was the purchasing of office furniture, big screen TVs, and meals costing the district tens of thousands of dollars.

Yovino said this the result of poor management.

"You have folks that come into a role and don't fully understand them."

There's also the concern of lost receipts and possible lies. The district, according to FCMAT, is required to write a memo about any receipts that are lost. But on one occasion a note from the superintendent read "The following receipt posted and charged to the Visa card are not available due to the fact of a break-in of the business office, and I am not able to obtain another copy."

Auditors said those interviewed could not recall that break-in.

One neighbor said these allegations should not be shoved under the rug.

"If it's true, it has to be dealt with. I mean if it was found true. You did wrong you got to pay for it," said Peter Sanchez, Parlier resident.

As for criminal charges Yovino said, "Our Fresno County District Attorney will now have this report in front of her, and her staff will be reviewing it for all the questions you're asking now."

Yovino said the school board has 15 days to report back to him with how they are going to remedy these recommendations from FCMAT.

Action News reached out to the District Attorney's Office but were told it could not comment while the case is in review.

Related Topics:
educationparlierbudgetfresno countyParlier
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