FSU Audit | State audit finds some Fayetteville State University employees misused university-issued credit cards by nearly $700,000

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) — An investigative report released Tuesday, May 28, by the North Carolina State Auditor's Office (OSA) reveals that nearly $700,000 was misused by some Fayetteville State University (FSU) staff.

The audit and investigation began when the Audit Office received several reports that employees within the Office of Strategic Communications (OSC) made unauthorized purchases using university-issued credit cards.

“We received anonymous reports from seven different complainants regarding the misuse of funds at Florida State University,” Holmes said.

Auditors are urging the SBI to explore whether criminal charges should be brought.

Purchasing cards (P-cards) and travel cards (T-cards) valued at $692,239 were not allowed and/or did not contain adequate documentation, the audit said.

State Auditor Jessica Holmes said it reviewed improper spending by FSU employees from January 2022 to last August, which included gifts, shopping on Amazon and out-of-state travel.

Here's a breakdown of the state audit report

  • The purchase of $575,123 in P-Cards is not permitted under University policy.
  • The $84,469 T-Card purchase was not permitted by university policy.
  • The P and T cards purchased were valued at $322,743 but did not contain sufficient documentation to support their use for valid university purposes.

Among the three findings, the report states that the $290,096 purchase was not allowed under university policy and did not include adequate documentation.

The report's first three findings indicate that university employees used bank cards to make unauthorized purchases and travel. Some of them are not supported by documentation or receipts.

The fourth credit card abuse detailed in the report alleges a conflict of interest occurred when $165,570 was paid to a business owned by an employee who failed to disclose a financial interest in the business.

“The fourth finding specifically relates to payments made by employees to businesses that they owned or were involved in, and therefore those employees did not disclose their financial interests, which was a conflict,” Holmes said.

FSU said it has begun responding to the situation by hiring a new internal auditor, reviewing its policies and retraining employees on those policies.

The university released a statement to ABC11 saying:

“We were alarmed when we learned of the misuse of departmental purchasing and travel cards at Fayetteville State University. As soon as we became aware of this, we worked quickly with the University of North Carolina System to realign processes and implement Tighter financial controls do not reflect the principles and values ​​of FSU or its employees.

“This isolated incident does not reflect the principles and values ​​of FSU or its employees. As a university community, we are committed to being responsible and trustworthy stewards of FSU resources.”

“I hope this sends a message to all of our universities and all of our university employees that the funds they receive are for the benefit of students, and if there's abuse, we're likely to find out about it,” Holmes said.

ABC11 has reached out to those charged in the audit, but they have not yet responded to our request for comment.

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