Update on Bookstore case

In conjunction with this plea, we are posting the Bookstore audit today. Finally, for reference, here is the link to the news release we issued on August 20 that contains the history of the case.

I want to take this opportunity to make four points.

Thanks to internal audit

First, let me again express my sincere thanks to our internal audit staff for identifying this issue and being diligent about getting to the bottom of it. They deserve the credit (and our thanks) for bringing this to light.  Without their good work and their cooperation with law enforcement, we would not be to this point in the case.

Thanks to law enforcement officials

Second, on behalf of the University, I want to thank the U.S. Attorney, the Secret Service, the IRS, the Springfield Police Department and all other law enforcement officials, as well as the courts, for their good and prompt action on this case.

Cooperating with law enforcement

Third, I want you to know that since Aug. 20, we have been cooperating fully with law enforcement officials and the prosecutors. As part of our cooperation, law enforcement officials asked us to refrain from talking with media and to not provide additional information, all of which they said could compromise the investigation. It was our cooperation that helped bring this case to a conclusion in such a timely manner. By cooperating, that meant the following:

  • We were not able to fully disclose the total amount of the missing funds.  The original $400,000 was ultimately determined to be more than $1.1 million.
  • We were not able to complete and share our internal audit because it would have included all of the details and the numbers.  As indicated, we are posting that audit on our website today.
  • And, finally, as you recall, the University has an employee theft insurance policy that covers these kinds of acts. While we filed our insurance claim, we asked the insurance company not to fully pursue its confirmation process until after the legal process had been completed. We appreciate the company complying with that request. We are still hopeful we will be able to recover the vast majority of the funds after restitution.

On one hand, I regret not being able to fully disclose all of the details earlier; however, in this instance, advancing the criminal investigation was the primary goal, and we were able to accomplish that.

Corrective actions

Fourth and finally, as you will see in the audit, we have taken a number of corrective actions to avoid this from happening again. These actions range from ensuring better segregation of duties, to eliminating exceptions to policies, to better recording of transactions, and more. We believe we have established a comprehensive set of actions to close any loopholes for the future. So you know, internal audit is completing a full department audit of the Bookstore operations.

This has been a very disappointing chapter in our history, but I believe the University has responded appropriately and in a timely manner to bring the issue to light and to assist in finding a resolution.

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