Friday, July 23, 2010

U Accountant -- $100,000 for 10 Days in Jail

Who ever said that "crime doesn't pay" never met former U of U accountant Jara Jane Wimmer.

Wimmer started defrauding the University's theater department in 2001 with the first of many checks. From then until the U finally caught on in 2009, she fraudulently used professors' University credit cards, paid her husband regular checks from the University coffers, charged plane tickets to Cancun on her University credit card, and enjoyed several thousands of dollars in illegitimate purchases which she covered up by forging invoices, delivery slips, and order requisitions.

What is her punishment?
3rd District Judge William Barrett ordered Wimmer, 33, to serve 10 days in jail, perform 200 hours of community service and pay $123,000 in restitution.
The article states that her theft was 100,000 dollars more that the amount that than the restitution order. So, Ms. Wimmer profited 10,000 dollars per day in jail -- not a bad deal. Sure she has community service and she theoretically "has" to pay 123,000 dollars back. However, Ms. Wimmer and her now deceased hubby lived pretty sweet on a pretty small salary and she gets to keep 45% of her booty -- I wonder if my local college is hiring for bookkeepers?

Internal Controls

There appears to be some basic internal controls that the U theater department was missing all those years -- multiple reviews of department books, duel signatures on department checks, and regular reviews of credit card expense reports. All of these internal controls are taught in lower level accounting courses. Kudos (in a sarcastic way) to Ms. Wimmer for identifying Mack truck-sized flaws in the U of U's internal controls -- if only you had a soul, you would have reported them to management instead of buying purses with taxpayer and donor's funds.


Tom Grover said...

This was a really incredible story. I am always amazed by stories like this. Internal controls! A simple solution that will save many organizations!

pramahaphil said...

Thanks for commenting. Yes internal controls usually can prevent fraud, and the lack of internal controls usually guarantee eventual fraud.

pramahaphil said...

Seriously thanks for commenting.