Missing-money investigation tightens Norfolk parking policies

Posted at 5:38 PM, Aug 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-05 06:02:47-04

Norfolk, Va. - Norfolk's auditor said in a report he could not determine if employee theft was the reason for money missing from parking funds because of parking system's unreliable accounting.

In a report released recently to NewsChannel 3, auditor John Sanderlin said his investigators "were not able to make a reliable comparison of expected revenues to actual revenues" when it came to special event parking, or what the city sometimes calls cash-on-entry parking.

For months, Sanderlin investigated a tip employees were stealing from the cash-only transactions.  A separate NewsChannel 3 investigation showed Norfolk parking attendants have been held responsible for huge shortfalls, sometimes up to $400 each. City records show more than $16,000 went missing from the parking collections in five years, although the city was able to recover much of that through payroll deductions.

But for special-event parking, Sanderlin's conclusion was the same as NewsChannel 3's: Cash-on-entry parking had no accounting in place to match cars with the cash. Sanderlin also noted there were no signs at lots or garages alerting drivers that they should receive a ticket in exchange for cash.  That meant it would be easy for dishonest workers to collect the cash, wave drivers into the lot, and pocket the money.

The auditor also noted that "regular spot checks were not done by management as a deterrence to possible theft."

The report outlined stricter accounting rules for cash-on-entry parking that would reduce the opportunities for theft.