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Florida Lottery Department Can't Account for Millions of Dollars' Worth of Purchases

The Florida Department of the Lottery -- the department that hands out and handles billions of dollars -- apparently can't keep its books straight. This according to an audit conducted by the office of the state auditor general, David W. Martin.

As first reported by FloridaWatchDog.org, the survey found that the DOL can't keep tabs on its own property -- which is all paid for with taxpayer dollars.

According to the survey, the department can't account for receipts or inventory info on about 82 percent of anything that cost at least $1,000 -- including company vehicles.

According to the audit, millions of dollars in what is classified as public property that was purchased by the Florida Lottery Department was accounted for in a shoddy manner since July 2013.

Among the missing information, about 204 items originally costing $919,000 have apparently been lost or stolen. Apparently the department got rid of some of the items but never listed them as lost or stolen when they went missing.

Likewise, around 178 vehicles -- costing more than $2.8 million -- had missing VIN numbers, according to the audit.

"Without the VIN, the department's property records may not contain sufficient detail to appropriately identify and account for department motor vehicles," the audit says.

From Watchdog.org:

In 2012, the Florida auditor general recommended DOL track all applicable costs for each of its lottery games, 47 at any given time, in a single accounting system. That system was supposed to go live in July 2012. A year later, the department had spent $1.5 million in consulting costs on the system, and as of February 2014 it remains in development.

Some of the other findings turned up information such as the department of lottery purchasing handguns for its officials.

According to the audit, the department has 22 guns, with ten staffers being assigned two guns apiece. Their reasoning for two is that an additional gun might be required.

There were also purchases for things like an iPad Mini, a conference phone, and two-way radios, but these purchases were not included in the public property records.

According to the report, DOL Secretary Cynthia F. O'Connell said she agreed with the audit's findings.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph

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