Cayuga County Probation Department – Internal Controls Over Financial Operations (2013M-171)

Issued Date
September 27, 2013

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the Department’s internal controls over the collection and disbursement of all moneys for which the Department is responsible for the period January 1, 2011, through January 31, 2013.


Cayuga County is located in central New York State. The Cayuga County Probation Department provides services under the supervision of the Legislature and County Administrator. The Judicial and Public Safety Committee provides oversight of the Probation Department. The Department reported that for 2011 it collected $104,871 and disbursed $99,143 to crime victims and $5,728 to the County for related surcharges.

Key Findings

  • Written policies and procedures either had not been developed or they had not been adequately monitored, updated, or distributed to all responsible staff. The Department did not maintain adequate records to support amounts collected or uncollected, the amount of undisbursed restitution being held, or adequate records of unpaid victims, and did not properly segregate the duties of those receiving and disbursing cash.
  • While the Department has consistently disbursed restitution payments it receives each month to the appropriate victims timely and routinely, it did not properly handle those moneys which could not be readily disbursed to victims who could not be located. As of August 2012, the Department held over $16,000 in undisbursed restitution which was collected between one year and over 20 years ago.
  • The Department did not consistently enforce payment of court-ordered restitution, and only reported noncompliance to the courts for six of the 31 selected cases that had balances in arrears.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop, or review and update, and implement and enforce written policies and procedures to establish adequate internal controls and to define employees’ job duties within the Department and ensure adequate segregation of duties among staff. Require the use of either duplicate press-numbered receipt books or computerized receipts with controlled numbering of and adjustments to issued receipts.
  • Establish or update, and enforce, policies and procedures for accounting for undisbursed restitution.
  • Establish and implement procedures to ensure that cases are adequately monitored for compliance with payment of court-ordered financial obligations and formally reported to the court when non-compliance occurs.