Tarrant County Constable Department missing cash, no controls over drugs, guns and more.

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Tarrant County Auditor, Renee Tidwell, recently completed an audit of the office of the Precinct 5 Constable – Ruben Garcia. (You might remember him from his ties to the mail in voter fraud clan.) The report of Mrs. Tidwell’s audit was given to the Commissioners Court this week with no fan fare.

HOWEVER, THIS REPORT IS EXPLOSIVE!

The report consists of 6 “Observations”.

1. “Controls over the accountability of manual receipts and the recording of payments were not adequate.” The auditor found that Ruben’s office is missing receipts and accountability for cash. They have checked receipt books out to the deputies, but no accounting or inventory of those receipts has been performed as far back as 2005!

2. “Certain receipts collected by the deputies were not recorded into Mainframe.” It is pretty clear by reading the report that the department is not entering and possibly not depositing cash payments, the same ones without receipts. The report goes on to state “As a result, loss of funds owed to the Tax Office COULD occur.” Could?….

3. “Segregation of duties was not adequate.” Ruben has given his login to SAP so employees can enter their own time sheets, including overtime, with no oversight. A source of DAT’s tells us this is due to Ruben rarely being at work. The auditor goes on to state “Without adequate segregation of duties and system related controls, errors and fraud may NOT be prevented or detected.” This should concern all Tarrant County residents.

4. “Disposition of seized and held property was not performed in accordance with the Code of Criminal Procedure.” This is the most problematic observation in the report. (Amazing that missing cash isn’t the worse thing!) The department has no control over their seized assets. There is no record of seized cash, drugs, drug paraphernalia, weapons, and other assets. No one knows what has been seized, nor what has been removed. There are assets currently in their control which were seized as far back as 2000 while the code calls for disposition within 90 days. The department also admitted to not knowing how to dispose of seized drugs!

5. “Deposits were not always made in accordance with Local Government Code.” This ties into the first observation, but in this case, the cash they did deposit was not deposited according to procedure. The auditor points out that The Constable – Ruben Garcia – is liable for any theft or loss of funds.

6. “The Office of the Attorney General was not invoiced for court papers served in a timely manner.” The Constable’s office carries out warrants on behalf of the Attorney General’s office (mostly child support cases). The AG’s office is supposed the cover the expense, yet Ruben has not been invoicing the AG’s office, leaving Tarrant County taxpayers directly on the hook for these services.

Make no mistake – this report (which you can read in it’s entirety BELOW) is as BAD as it can possibly be. Missing receipts, cash, and drugs, free for all payroll, and more. But don’t worry, Ruben’s response made everything OK – “Be assured that everything was addressed and recommendations implemented so that our department will not have any issues with the Auditors Department.” Even Commissioner JD Johnson gasped at the response asking, “is that even a response?”

All these findings make me wonder, why hasn’t the county audited this department in at least 12 years? Especially given that Ruben is known to be incompetent. How many other Tarrant County departments are this poorly run? Who is watching the hen house?

Renee Tidwell – Thank you for your service. How do we get more Renee’s?

Now we wait and see what those with the jurisdiction will do about these findings. What say you Sharen Wilson, Glen Whitley, Gary Fickes, JD Johnson, Roy Brooks, Andy Nguyen, and Texas Rangers?

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