Mowers, Split Purchases, Doggy Tuxedos: Recent P-Card News
When it comes to purchasing cards (P-Cards), there will always be employees who will unintentionally misuse the card or purposefully try to conceal personal purchases. Here are some recent stories about P-Cards being used to purchase everything from lawnmowers and jewelry to televisions and doggy tuxedos.
The University of Florida’s senior director of Housing and Residence Education was recently arrested for allegedly spending almost $200,000 on personal purchases. In addition to using university funds to buy cell phones, meals, lawnmowers and televisions, the employee is also accused of using his university-issued P-Card to purchase $45,000 worth of furniture. The employee, who is facing charges of grand theft, maintains that although some of the furniture can be seen in photos of his home posted to social media, he intended on bringing the items to the university as he was only storing them at his home temporarily.
Following an investigation by internal audit, questions were raised regarding P-Card purchases made by city workers in Anchorage. The questionable or prohibited purchases included 24 large purchases made that caused concern as they had been intentionally split in order to circumvent the single transaction spending limit that is placed on the cards. In total, almost $120,000 in split purchases were made. Although the internal audit director indicated the split purchases were ultimately found to be legitimate, they do, however, violate policies for P-Card use.
In a more flagrant case of P-Card abuse, a former administrative assistant to an Arkansas county official has pleaded guilty to fraudulently using her P-Card for $200,000 worth of personal purchases that include a diamond bracelet, tickets to sporting events, sequined pillows, pet insurance, and a tuxedo for her dog. The woman was charged with six counts of fraud, including two involving amounts exceeding $25,000, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
City officials in San Diego are under fire after a U-T Watchdog review found that employees were making at least nine out of 19 types of prohibited purchases. Most of these were retail purchases, including 540 charges for almost $270,000 worth of furniture, which the city’s P-Card manual explicitly prohibits.
More startling are segregation of duties (SoD) failures, with more than 100 accounts for which the cardholder and the official reviewer (who is responsible for signing off on expenses) were the same person. More than $150,000 and 440 transactions were subject to this failure in SoD. The review also found 35 transactions that did not include any information on what was purchased or why, while another 104 expenses—totaling $31,500—were unable to be categorized based on the information included.
About Anu Sood
Anu Sood (LinkedIn | Twitter) is the Director Marketing at CaseWare RCM and is responsible for the company’s global marketing strategy. She has over 20 years of experience in product development, product management, product marketing, corporate communications, demand generation, content marketing and strategic marketing in high-tech industries.