ASI reports $80,000 in misused funds

Former professional staff member took advantage of student fees

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Antonio Pequeño

ASI’s office is located at USU 3700.

Antonio Pequeño, Editor-in-Chief

Associated Students Incorporated (ASI) reported today that a former professional staff member used $80,000 of its funds for personal gain. 

The report comes from a memorandum made by Kenneth Tran, president and CEO of ASI. “I am extremely disappointed to report that a former ASI professional staff member, whose responsibilities were to empower the student voice, allegedly took advantage of student fees and violated the financial integrity of our organization” wrote Tran. 

ASI’s 2019 corporate tax form gives further details about the funds. Page 48 of the form explains that in Dec. of 2018, the former employee “may have initiated and posted payments by using (ASI’s) bank account by purchasing pre-paid credit cards using their business credit card.” Per the form, ASI was in transition from one business credit card provider to a different one, “which the employee found as an opportunity for personal gain.”

According to the memorandum, once ASI had identified the accounting irregularities, ASI Executive Director Dr. Annie Macias, reported the loss in funds to local authorities. There is now an ongoing criminal investigation into the matter. An insurance claim was filed with CSU Risk Management Authority in Jan. 2019 as a means of recovering the losses. 

ASI made internal changes to its policies and to the duties of its members to prevent future mismanagement of funds. There were multiple changes that took place from Dec. 2018 to June 2019.

In Dec. 2018, the bank account that was used by the former employee was frozen by management and accounting. By June 2019, the account was closed and ASI opened a new account with a different bank. 

The new bank provides improved monitoring tools and additional resources for the credit card program administrator, who does not hold a business credit card or have access to make any electronic payments with the business account. 

A monthly budget reconciliation process was added which included a review from each programmatic area supervisor alongside an independent review and sign-off by the business services specialist.

There is now a log that is reviewed monthly, which records and monitors the purchase of prepaid credit cards that are purchased using a business credit card.

Education and training was implemented for business credit card holders. Holders are now required to complete a monthly reconciliation, which is reviewed and signed off by the supervisor of the holder. Lastly, an internal monthly audit is completed by the program administrator for all credit card account reconciliations. This is completed to ensure that procedures are followed according to policy.

Tran stated that the former professional staff member does not reflect the values and mission of ASI. “We do not tolerate any misuse of student fees and plan on continuing to keep students informed as we are able during the criminal investigation process” said Tran.

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California