First of all, I would like to commend State Auditor Beth Wood and her colleagues on the extremely thorough and professional work they performed in conducting the audit of Four County Community Services. The audit uncovered evidence the former director led a highly corrupt organization.
Now, the good citizens of North Carolina should demand the audit be followed up with a criminal investigation. I had the privilege to conduct fraud investigations at the federal level for many years. Given the facts presented in the audit, this case screams for a criminal investigation. I suspect one is already underway and rightfully so. A joint federal/state criminal task force investigation will take the work of the auditors to the next level. Do not be surprised if the tentacles of corruption extend far beyond the obvious when the investigation is complete, including those with oversight responsibility.
Personally, I would have loved to work on such a case in my time. Any individuals involved in a fraud scheme that victimizes the most vulnerable in our society should be investigated thoroughly and, if justified, prosecuted to the maximum extent allowed by law. In fact, cases involving this class of victims were given the highest priority in my former agencies. It appears there will be no shortage of potential criminal charges in this case to include fraud against the government, bribery, illegal kickbacks, mail fraud, and wire fraud to name a few.
Lastly, I would like to know if our local state representatives have been actively involved in supporting the audits of this organization. If not, they should be made to explain. I expect each of them, along with their federal counterparts, to lead the charge for full accountability. I remember one local representative complained publicly about our Governor removing mold and updating his bathroom to the tune of about $230,000. I thought his complaint petty and political. Meanwhile, $4.8 million dollars in federal and state monies walked out the back door in his home county. He should publicly explain his role in seeing justice is done in this case. Once this matter is ultimately put to rest, I suspect they will close up shop here in Laurinburg and find an alternative method, location, or agency to distribute these funds. Who could blame them?
Sadly, the greed of a few will leave an undeserving tarnish on the rest of us who call this county home.
Robert S. McDonnell