In Hempstead, NY, fire commissioners were found to have improperly used both credit cards and taxpayer funds. Purchases include baseball games tickets and restaurant meals and $100 worth of beer. One single restaurant bill topped $1800. The impropriety was due to the failure of the board of commissioners to adopt and enforce a written policy regarding the use of cards issued.
Nine credit cards with a combined limit of $30,000 were issues to the five commissioners, 2 firehouse men, the treasurer and the district secretary. However, the board did not have written policies to say what could or could not be purchase or what documentation would be required for a credit card purchase.
Of the 143 transactions tested by auditors, 122 were found to have insufficient documentation to prove whether they were or were not legitimate fire district expenses. Some had no receipts attached at all. Auditors also found that account were not required to be fully reconciled and that checks were not being deposited in a timely manner. With such practices, the risk of irregularities and errors along with outright fraud is greatly increased.