A former employee of the Indianapolis Parks Department is facing charges that she directed $350,000 in public money to her personal bank accounts.
The accounting staffer, who was fired after allegedly admitting her crime to investigators, steered fake credit and debt card refunds to her own accounts, according to charging papers. Questionable transactions went back to 2000. The employee, Kenya Miles, faces charges of official misconduct, theft and fraud against a financial institution. She posted a $7,500 bond and was released from the Marion County Jail July 13.
"She was in a position of trust that she abused and we're going to be pursuing this very aggressively," Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi told WISH-TV.
A Chase bank employee alerted city officials to possible problems in early July. City officials acknowledged that lax internal controls contributed to the size of the theft, which was characterized by the Indianapolis Star as one of the area’s biggest public embezzlement cases in recent years.
“There was clearly a breakdown in controls.” Kobi Wright, Indianapolis' corporation counsel, told the newspaper.
He went on to say that a 2003 audit of parks accounts by the Indianapolis-Marion County Internal Audit Agency called for additional oversight of refund procedures, but the changes were not fully implemented. Wright added that the city has stopped allowing electronic refunds on debit and credit cards.
Miles apparently processed credits to the city account by presenting them as refunds to residents who had paid for park services in advance. Court documents said that a search turned up several Visa debit cards used to obtain the fraudulent credit refunds, and four Michigan driver's licenses listing the name of Kenya Miles with bogus Social Security numbers.
According to court documents, she confessed to stealing "large sums of money” from the city.
Investigators froze her personal account with National City Bank and will try to recover as much money as possible, according to WTHR News.