WHAT? Another $300,000 embezzlement charge against a trusted official?

(Copyright ©2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

TOYAH, TX — The mayor of a West Texas town of about 100 people has been charged with stealing nearly $300,000 in a forged signature scheme. Toyah Mayor Bartolo Sanchez faces federal charges of bank fraud, wire fraud and four counts of aggravated identity theft. Authorities did not immediately return a message Monday about Sanchez, who was arrested Friday. He’s been mayor since 2006.

Investigators say Sanchez, without knowledge of the Toyah City Council, in 2009 signed a $228,000 settlement with natural gas exploration company Chesapeake Operating Inc. The money was meant to fix streets damaged by Chesapeake vehicles. Investigators say Sanchez created a bank account and wrote checks to himself from that town fund and others. He allegedly forged a required second signature.

Toyah is 175 miles southeast of El Paso.


So much for the vaunted internal control of requiring 2 signatures. Try this test. Send in a check payment to any vendor. Utilities are a good option. Sign the check Clark Kent. Or Mickey Mouse (Be careful that the Disney lawyers don’t come after you.) Chances are the check will sail through at light speed with nary a speed bump.

Hey, this guy is/was the Mayor. If you can’t trust the mayor, who can you trust? The answer is that trust is not an internal control. Se some of my other blog posts if you are new here. My question is, what other or compensation controls were either missing or not being performed during the course of his theft. So, there were only 100 people in town? Is that an excuse? Well, that’s 100 potential people who could have provided some segregation of duties.

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This entry was posted on December 3, 2012 and is filed under Fraud and Embezzlement. Written by: . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.