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State Comptrollerís Office Issues Results of Audit of Lewis County Court and Trust Funds

 

Published: April 02, 2024 at 11:30 a.m.

By: Audit Results from NYS Comptrollerís Office

 

The office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released the results of a recent audit of Lewis County court and trust funds. The full report can be viewed here. A summary, as provided by the Comptrollerís office, is included below.

 

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether County officials have established appropriate controls to safeguard and account for court and trust funds for the period January 1, 2021 through January 24, 2024.

 

Background

Pursuant to a court order, certain assets may be provided to the court and then delivered to the County Treasurer (Treasurer) for safekeeping. Payments made pursuant to court orders commonly involve surplus money from foreclosures and contract disputes resulting in a mechanicís lien (i.e., a security interest in property filed to ensure payment for contracted services rendered on the property). These actions are recorded in the County Clerkís (Clerk) office when payments are deposited as required by court order. Pursuant to New York State Finance Law, county treasurers are required to submit a report on an annual basis to the State Comptroller accounting for all money, securities and other properties deposited to courts and ordered into the courtsí custody. Additionally, when the whereabouts of any person entitled to payment from the estate is unknown, funds from estates are entrusted to the Treasurer for safekeeping by order of the County Surrogateís Court (Surrogateís Court). Together, the Treasurer, Clerk and Surrogateís Court must develop sound procedures and processes that, when implemented properly and consistently, provide a system of internal controls to account for and safeguard these funds.

 

Key Findings

  • The Treasurer generally established adequate procedures, maintained appropriate records, and properly reported court and trust funds. However, we identified $239 that improperly remained in the Treasurerís custody that should have been turned over to the State Comptroller as abandoned property.

 

Key Recommendations

  • The Treasurer should ensure that all money deemed abandoned property is paid to the State Comptroller in a timely manner, as required. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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