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Audit finds lapses in sheriff's office

NORMAN (AP) - An Oklahoma audit has found financial mismanagement within a sheriff's office in the central part of the state, causing over-expenditure of public funds and noncompliance with state law.

The audit conducted from July 2011 to June 2016 says the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office's shortfalls are due to "its management, operation, record keeping and accounting systems."

Auditors said Sheriff Joe Lester requested more funding from the Cleveland County Budget Board in March, but failed to bill the Oklahoma Department of Corrections from September 2016 to March 2017 for housing state prisoners. The audit also found "deficiencies in collections of revenue and inefficient expenditures," including overpayment of inmate medical costs and inefficient scheduling of personnel resulting in unbudgeted payments of compensatory time.

Lester sued the county later that month, saying the Board of Commissioners and Budget Board failed to fund the county jail as required by law. 

Lester and Budget Board members requested the audit to help determine whether the jail was adequately funded.

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