A final review of an inmate account at the regional jail is complete with findings that more than $204,000 disappeared at the jail through a two-year period.
Previous audit reports confirmed that more than $178,000 was missing during an 18-month period that ended June 30, 2019. The latest review covers financial records from July 1, 2019 through Nov. 30, 2019 and reports that an additional $25,967 is missing.
Officials realized there were discrepancies in the account in November 2019 when a 2017-18 audit was being conducted. While the funds, primarily part of the canteen and commissary funds, are managed at the jail, the funds are audited during the county’s normal auditing process.
There are three methods the jail has for accepting money that should be deposited into the inmate bank account, a booking kiosk, a lobby kiosk and online payments that are credited to an inmate’s account, according to a previous audit.
According to the first audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, six machine withdrawals totaling $80,987 were never deposited. Those missing deposits started on Oct. 6, 2017 and continued until June 30, 2018.
An audit for the 2018-19 fiscal year reported another $97,451 in missing funds during that 12-month period. The latest findings of $25,967 in missing funds brings the total to $204,405.
The five-month review, provided by auditing firm Patrick and Associates, is not a formal audit but a report that was conducted at the request of the Adair County Fiscal Court.
The Community Voice filed an open records request to receive a copy of the findings this past week. County Judge Gale Cowan said she could still not provide details in the incident because an investigation by Kentucky State Police is still ongoing.
When asked if the funds would be repaid, Cowan said the county’s insurance company is in contact with KSP but has not provided the county any details at this point.
During a previous interview, Jailer Joey White said he originally discovered the discrepancy and contacted Sheriff Josh Brockman and County Judge Executive Gale Cowan. Later that same day a call was made to the auditor, he said.
White said he would take part in withdrawing funds from the kiosk machine and put his initials on deposit slips and an employee took deposits to the bank. White said he would see a bank reconciliation report that made it appear that deposits were being made.
Kentucky State Police Det. B.J. Burton is investigating the case. He could not be reached before deadline this week but released information to the Community Voice last June after the second audit was released.
Det. Burton said his investigation points to Ricky Huckaby as the primary suspect, and he does not anticipate any charges to follow the final audit. Huckaby was administrator of the funds for the jail during the time period funds went missing until his death on Nov, 13, 2019. Huckaby died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the coroner’s report.
In some instances a complete deposit was never made and at other times a deposit slip appeared to have been altered with partial funds being deposited.
A forensic auditor has helped with the investigation and has found “suspicious activity” with Huckaby’s bank account, but it does not account for the total funds missing, Burton said.
“There is no way to account for a lot of that cash,” Burton said. “At the end of the day we will not be able to confirm he took every bit of it.”
The past audit called for White to make several changes in internal controls and he said he has put those changes in place.
The funds are considered a net profit to the jail and could only be used for costs that directly benefit inmates. “Canteen funds” have been used to purchase items such as mowers that inmates use for a work program as well as to cover partial costs for medical care for inmates.
By Sharon Burton