Mercer County Approves Forensic Audit of Treasurer's Office - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Mercer County Approves Forensic Audit of Treasurer's Office

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      The Mercer County Board is moving forward on a forensic audit of the county treasurer's office. County officials say some discrepancies were found in a recent look at the finances. This, county officials say, stems from outside allegations made against County Treasurer Michael Bertelsen. 
     KWQC reported in August that Bertelsen is accused of stealing more than $500 from the county republican party. That had nothing to do with county funds but board members say it raised some red flags and led to a more in-depth look into the office by the county auditors. Officials say that audit turned up some "anomalies."  They aren't saying specifically what the issues are, but that now it's going to lead to a deeper look into the office. Board members say it's to make sure taxpayer money is being used properly.
     "Because of things that have happened in other places like Dixon and around that we need to make sure we're protecting the tax dollars. Unfortunately we'll have to spend some money to make sure everything is on the up and up," said Mercer County Board Chair Maxine Henry.
     Thursday night board members approved phase one of a forensic audit. In tight times it's going to cost the county to the tune of $18,000 to $24,000. That will come out of the tort liability fund. An outside firm will come in and dig into line items going back several years.
     If necessary the county may move forward with additional phases of an audit. That has happened before - in 2009 an investigation into the county clerk's office cost a total of $88,000. 
     Phase one of this forensic audit is expected to take a month or two. Meanwhile, the separate investigation into County Treasurer Michael Bertelsen is still ongoing and he still holds his position in that office.