NEWS FROM THE OFFICE OF

ULSTER COUNTY COMPTROLLER

ELLIOTT AUERBACH
ELLIOTT AUERBACH COUNTY COMPTROLLER 244 FAIR STREET KINGSTON, NEW YORK 12401 PHONE: (845) 340-3529 eaue@co.ulster.ny.us
www.youreyesonlulster.com

ACCOUNTING FOR $500,000 of INMATE FUNDS:
NUMBERS WORK, METHODS CAN BE IMPROVED
For Immediate Release

Kingston NY (October 23, 2013)… Ulster County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach has issued a report which examines the Ulster County Inmate Accounts managed by the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO). The Report points out that cash collected from inmates, or on their behalf, did ultimately reconcile to the UCSO’s accounting. However, the Report concludes that the UCSO needs to employ better controls for the management of these accounts, to decrease the risks inherent in maintaining funds held in trust. Inmate trust accounts are created in the name of prisoners as a repository for cash carried by inmates at the time of booking, as well as cash received from relatives or friends during their incarceration. These monies can be used by inmates for commissary purchases during confinement. Unused balances are returned to the prisoners upon their release. “One of the highest functions of our Office is to examine the practices of County government units against best practices for government finance and accounting,” commented Auerbach. “In the best case scenario, these examinations result in recommendations which reduce risk of fraud or waste before any such fraud or waste has occurred. This Report is an example of that goal being met,” he continued. “The UCSO cooperated in the examination and is fully engaged in adopting our recommendations.” Among the recommendations made were: • • • Tightening of the timetable between receipt of funds and deposit of funds Requiring a protocol of sign-off on accounting and recordkeeping by both the preparer and an independent supervisory party within the UCSO Adoption of improved filing and accounting systems

In 2012, the deposits into this trust account totaled nearly half a million dollars, according to the Report, making it an account worthy of scrutiny and the protection of best practices, said Auerbach. The report, entitled Ulster County Sheriff Inmate Accounts, can be found on line at www.ulstercountyny.gov/comptroller

The mission of the Ulster County Comptroller’s Office is to serve as an independent agency of the people and to protect the public interest by monitoring County government and to assess and report on the degree to which its operation is economical, efficient and its financial condition sound.

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