County, accountants still exploring what's needed to audit Treasurer's Office

Beaufort County officials are tallying how much it will cost and how long it will take to audit the Beaufort County Treasurer's Office.

Accountants from the Atlanta office of KPMG are beginning a forensic audit of Treasurer's Office accounts to find thousands of dollars missing from a property-tax delinquency sale in October, said county administrator Gary Kubic.

"The accountants are gathering information on personnel, interviewing staff and reviewing protocols to determine how processing is handled and what controls are in place," Kubic said.

Kubic said KPMG has yet to provide county officials with a price for the audit, though the accountants are paid $150 to $360 per hour, depending on their experience level. The money for the audit is coming from a variety of sources, including the county's general fund, Kubic said.

"We've been getting reports from them, but they haven't had enough time to come up with anything tangible (in terms of cost)," Kubic said. "What's important to keep in mind is that this is the bank of the county, and it's responsible for handling a couple hundred million dollars a year."

Kubic and 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone hired KPMG last month at the request of Sheriff P.J. Tanner, who said an audit was the only way to determine how much money was missing. Estimates ranged from $4,000 to $300,000. Treasurer Joy Logan told investigators that at least $6,000 in cash payments were missing from her office, according to a Sheriff's Office report.

Sheriff's investigators discovered in February that Logan failed to report the alleged 2007 theft of $600 by Cassaundra White, who remained employed in the Treasurer's Office until her March 1 arrest on a charge of breach of trust with fraudulent intent. White also is a person of interest in the disappearance of the tax-sale money, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Logan, who first reported the missing tax-sale money to Kubic in October, has said she and her staff will cooperate with the auditors.

Logan faces no opposition in her re-election bid. Logan, who earns $80,623, has held the office since 1991.