Criminal charges considered in case of $40,775 missing from Port Angeles city coffers
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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John Troberg, deputy Clallam County prosecuting attorney, said in an email Thursday he likely will make a decision this week in the case of Amber L. Mozingo, 40.
Mozingo was fired from her position as recreation coordinator for the city's parks and recreation department in September after an internal investigation into an estimated $40,775 not paid to the department's after-school program over the course of five years.
Mozingo has not been arrested, Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said Friday evening.
Multiple attempts to contact Mozingo for comment have been unsuccessful.
The case was forwarded two weeks ago to the county Prosecuting Attorney's Office following an investigation by Port Angeles Police Detective Kevin Spencer.
Charges of first-degree theft and misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer, both class B felonies, were recommended to the prosecutor.
The state Auditor's Office opened a fraud investigation into the case Sept. 24.
Auditor's Office spokesman Thomas Shapley said Friday he had heard nothing new in the state's investigation.
The city's internal investigation showed Mozingo enrolled at least two of her four children in the after-school program without paying program fees, according to the investigative report obtained by the Peninsula Daily News through a public records request.
According to the report, Mozingo told city Human Resources Analyst Abbi Gates during the investigation that she had not paid for her children to attend the city's after-school and summer day camp programs since 2007 because of financial troubles.
Mozingo told Gates she did not feel she was doing anything wrong by not paying but later said she was willing to pay back the money she owes, according to the report.
Mozingo told Spencer the monthly fee for the program in which she had enrolled her children was $160.
Other payment options included $10 for one or two days, $20 for three days and $40 for a five-day week, Mozingo said.
Mozingo told Spencer she would have stopped letting her children attend for free or paid for them if anyone had confronted her about it.
“Mozingo said she did not think about it at the time, but now she realizes that what she did was 'not OK' and [that] she is responsible for losses,” Spencer wrote.
The inconsistencies first came to the attention of Corey Delikat, parks and recreation director, as he was reviewing his department's handling of collection and accounting of program fees, police said.
“After it was discovered, I feel that Corey Delikat, the parks director, in conjunction with the city finance department and the city's Police Department, did move forward appropriately,” City Manager Dan McKeen said Friday.
Byron Olson, the city's chief financial officer, said Friday that staff from the finance and parks and recreation departments are still assessing how fee-accounting procedures can be enhanced on a large scale.
“We are still continuing our review of the whole issue and what changes to implement,” Olson said.
He said, however, that finance department staff now will complete the invoicing process for the after-school and summer camp fees.
“The billing responsibilities will then be transferred over to finance and not be done within parks and rec,” Olson said.
The city's investigative report showed Mozingo had sole responsibility over this process while she worked as recreation supervisor.
Olson said a routine internal audit had been planned for the parks and recreation department for early 2014.
The city also has submitted a claim for losses to the Washington Cities Insurance Authority, which maintains the city's municipal loss insurance, Human Resources Manager Bob Coons said.
Coons said Friday he was still waiting to hear back from the insurance authority on what losses could be covered.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: October 27. 2013 2:15AM