Police are investigating a Columbia County booster club after an audit showed more than $6,000 missing from its bank account.
Lakeside High School band booster club members voted a week ago to ask the Columbia County Sheriff's Office to discover what happened to $6,363 unaccounted for from their account.
Booster Club President Nancy Scherer reported the missing funds to the sheriff's office on Friday, said sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.
Lakeside High School Principal Jeff Carney initiated an audit of the club's bank records in the spring when vendors called him claiming they had not been paid by the booster club for services rendered.
The audit, conducted by Terry Greenan, an auditor for the Columbia County School System, showed several abnormalities in the accounting records as well as with the missing money.
"This auditor cannot assure the Lakeside Band Booster's Association at this time that all deposits have been accounted for and that all disbursements are legitimate," Greenan wrote in the audit.
Greenan reported that the booster club had no receipts or invoices and no receipt books or records.
He also was unable to find any deposit slips or fund-raiser reports, he stated.
"Information, receipts (from checks written, bills and invoices paid) as well as deposit slips were turned in to our treasurer (Alicia Markyna) at the end of every school year for her to compile her year-end report for the school and county," former booster club President Sharon Nichols wrote in an e-mail. "Never once, in the last two years or prior, was it mentioned to me that she didn't have any or all of my information until the audit.
"It's strange to me that a professional accountant would not require or question this missing information, especially with her name on the report and her name as a co-signer on a lot of the checks."
A phone message left Friday for Markyna was not immediately returned, and she couldn't be reached by phone on Monday.
Greenan also questioned why 108 of 126 checks made out to cash or Nichols were rounded numbers.
"The checks made out to cash were for concessions start-up money, Boshears (Fly-In) concessions change and meal cash given to each band student by their chaperones during (their) Washington, D.C., trip," Nichols wrote.
"The checks made out to me were as stated in the report. I paid for a lot of what the band needed out of my pocket and was reimbursed."
Nichols stated when she was reimbursed she often would receive less than what she spent and allow the boosters to keep the change.
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