Local officials learn how to prevent fraud in government

The meeting was one of seven stops across Ohio for the state's auditor's office tour

Local officials learn how to prevent fraud in government.

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Local government officials met at the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center on Tuesday to learn more about detecting and preventing fraud in the workplace.

The meeting was one of seven stops across Ohio for the state’s auditor’s office tour. Members of the office want government officials to hold their peers accountable when it comes to fraud.

Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meachum says preventing fraud is an important duty.

“We’re the gatekeepers for the public funds of the county. We take that duty very seriously.”

Meacham was elected to the position in 2014 after the auditor before him, Michael Sciortino, was indicted on 16 felony counts for what prosecutors call “corruption while in office.”

Meachum says the meeting was a refresher of several topics.

“The importance of keeping control of the balances or reconciliations, watching vacations, watching the flow of funds.”

Dozens of people, including fiscal officers, executives and attorneys, attended.

Randy Turner, a deputy director for the state’s auditor’s office, says these meetings train people on how to detect fraud and encourage them to speak up if they notice it.

“Give them some tips or some hints on things that they can ask of, look for, and letting them know that this is absolutely your right.”

Turner says watching for warning signs and using prevention techniques really make a difference when it’s done early.

“The longer that frauds occur, the more loss occurs. So a fraudster is going to start small and they are going to build up, and they’re not going to steal less over time, they’re going to steal more.”

Tips or complaints of fraud in Ohio’s government agencies can be made at any time, whether you’re a public employee or citizen.

To report fraudulent activity, go to the Ohio Auditor’s website to submit a complaint.

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