State opens investigation into $40,775 in missing Port Angeles city funds

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — The state Auditor’s Office has opened a fraud investigation into a case involving $40,775 in missing city funds that Port Angeles police have forwarded to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for a charging decision.

The Police Department began investigating missing parks and recreation department fees Sept. 20 after city recreation coordinator Amber L. Mozingo, 40, was fired following an internal investigation.

The case was referred last week to the county prosecutor for consideration of charges of first-degree theft and misappropriation and falsification of accounts by a public officer, both class B felonies.

The state Auditor’s Office was sent the city’s information on Mozingo and opened a fraud investigation Sept. 24, Auditor’s Office spokesman Thomas Shapley said Friday.

Mozingo, who could not be reached for comment, has not been arrested.

Mark Nichols, chief deputy prosecuting attorney, said Friday afternoon he likely would know Monday which deputy prosecutor would be handling the case.

Detective Kevin Spencer said police suspect Mozingo used the after-school program fees to her own benefit without paying for the services over at least five years.

“I don’t have any indication that anyone else was involved,” Spencer said.

Corey Delikat, city parks and recreation director, said certain practices did not conform to the city’s standards for handling the collection and accounting of fees, according to Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith.

Delikat said he was reviewing his department’s revenues and expenditures when he discovered inconsistencies related to after-school youth program fees.

“It wasn’t something I was specifically looking for,” he said.

“It was just something I came across.”

Shapley could not estimate when the Auditor’s Office report would be completed.

“The city brought this to our attention,” Shapley said.

“The city requested [we] do the investigation.”

The Auditor’s Office investigation could conclude that Mozingo was the sole perpetrator of the fraud and leave it at that, Shapley said.

Additionally, the report could suggest city staff re-examine certain internal controls or identify things wrong with the controls and offer recommendations for fixing them.

“Those are all hypothetical,” Shapley said.

Delikat said his staff members are working with city’s finance department to review the collection and accounting procedures for parks and recreation fees.

“We’re continuing to review with finance our checks and balances, and make sure we’re following the proper procedure,” Delikat said.

Delikat said Mozingo had worked for the city since 2001.

As city recreation coordinator, Delikat said, Mozingo managed the parks and recreation department youth programs and rentals.

Mozingo has no criminal history in Washington, according to the state courts website.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 19. 2013 6:12PM
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