Missing court funds named in state investigation - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Missing court funds named in state investigation

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Results of an investigation done by the state into the Hampden Superior Court Clerk's Office has shown thousands of dollars had gone missing.

Laura Gentile was sworn in as Hampden County Clerk of Courts last January.

Before taking on her role, she asked State Auditor Suzanne Bump to investigate the office to make sure everything was in line.

"I asked Auditor Bump to please come in once I took office and do a complete analysis and assessment of everything in the office," explained Gentile.  

Those results were released Friday in a 39-page report.

It found several mishaps had taken place in the office under the leadership Gentile's predecessors.

The report states during the early stages of the investigation, auditors were alerted to an office employee who was mishandling court funds.

"That person was an assistant clerk authorized to take bails after court hours, but there are bail rules and procedures that have to be followed," said Gentile. 

Gentile said that person broke the rules when he failed to transfer money to the court within the scheduled time frame.

The report also highlighted $5,000 was missing from the office.

Gentile said the money has been recovered.

"Six weeks into my term, I did found the missing bail. I immediately contacted the authorities and I contacted the trial court," said Gentile. 

That assistant clerk was been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Attorney General's Office.

Gentile said she has set up a whole new set of rules to make sure this doesn't happen in her office.

"I have a policy in place that includes checks and balances and I cannot foresee this ever happening again," said Gentile.

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