Audit alleges fraud, says CPSB should have caught it sooner

Audit alleges fraud, says CPSB should have caught it sooner
A report from the Louisiana legislative auditor's office says the Caddo School Board should have detected the alleged fraud sooner. "The School Board's internal controls did not allow the detection of fraud or misappropriation in a timely manner."
A report from the Louisiana legislative auditor's office says the Caddo School Board should have detected the alleged fraud sooner. "The School Board's internal controls did not allow the detection of fraud or misappropriation in a timely manner."

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A former Caddo School District worker committed fraud and the School Board failed to catch it, alleges an audit made public Feb. 27 by the Louisiana legislative auditor's office.

The 191-page audit on the School Board's finances was released Feb. 20 with a classification of "D" for fraud.

The fraud is related to the arrest of Brandon Terrell Lewis, a 32-year-old Shreveport man who formerly worked as a transportation buyer in the School District's transportation department.

He is accused of using his business credit card to make unauthorized purchases like VISA gift cards between September 2014 and October 2016. He also allegedly used the School Board account to buy car parts and building materials for himself, the report states.

The audit says Lewis forged invoices to cover his activity. The alleged fraud totaled $260,000.

The Caddo Sheriff's Office received a tip about Lewis in October. After the School Board conducted an audit, he was placed on leave and later fired. Lewis was arrested Jan. 31.

Lewis remains in Caddo Correctional Center, where he was booked at 12:37 p.m. Jan. 31 on 1 count each of theft, forgery and unauthorized use of an access card as theft. His bonds total $75,000.

The state's audit says the School Board should have detected the alleged fraud sooner.  "The School Board's internal controls did not allow the detection of fraud or misappropriation in a timely manner."

To rectify the situation, said Bradley Cryer, of the legislative auditor's office, "the School (Board) needs to make sure they tighten up their controls over there, their purchasing cards and credit cards."

The audit also red-flagged the School District's failure to remove property from its accounting after it was sold for $751,000.

Caddo School District spokeswoman Mary Wood issued the following statement in response to the audit:

"Caddo Parish Public Schools is aware of findings made by external auditors as part of its annual financial report. It is through this review the district works to ensure improvements in operations and practices.

To review in detail the state audit of Caddo School District's finances for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2016, click here.

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