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The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Did Not Transfer $348,922 of Federal Reimbursements to the Office of the State Treasurer or Account for Them in the State’s Accounting System.

Audit calls on the BCSO to ensure reimbursements for housing federal immigration detainees are properly remitted and reported to the state.

Table of Contents

Overview

During our audit period, the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) did not transfer $348,922 of federal reimbursements that it received from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to the Commonwealth’s General Fund or account for these funds in the Commonwealth’s Massachusetts Management Accounting and Reporting System. The Commonwealth should have received these funds from ICE as payment for BCSO’s having housed and transported federal immigration detainees who were in deportation proceedings. By not transferring these funds, BCSO deprived the Commonwealth of their use.

Authoritative Guidance

Section 27 of Chapter 30 of the Massachusetts General Laws states,

Except as otherwise expressly provided, all fees or other money received on account of the commonwealth shall be paid daily into the treasury thereof, but if in the opinion of the commissioner of administration and the state treasurer the interests of the commonwealth require, payments may be made weekly in accordance with such rules and regulations as the state treasurer may prescribe.

Reasons for Issue

According to BCSO officials, ICE used the routing number of a BCSO bank account that BCSO does not typically use to receive funds from ICE before it deposits them with the Commonwealth. BCSO officials could not explain why the funds were not remitted to the Commonwealth in fiscal year 2016 when they were received.

Recommendations

  1. BCSO management should immediately remit $348,922 to the Commonwealth.
  2. BCSO management should ensure that ICE has the proper bank account information and that BCSO administers ICE revenue in accordance with state law.

Auditee’s Response

We bill monthly to ICE for transportation and housing of federal inmates. Since becoming a State agency, we have consistently provided the proper routing numbers for bank transfers of funds to be deposited within a Commonwealth account. We have made ICE officials aware of this each time the error was made. We have reiterated the proper account that the funds are to be transmitted to on each monthly billing form. There has been turnover in staff at ICE that has resulted in them using an account that was used prior to State takeover in 2010. We have made them aware of the mistake. The issue has been settled with these funds transferred to the State and the issue has not occurred since that time.

Auditor’s Reply

Based on its response, BCSO has taken measures to address our concerns in this area. However, in the future, regardless of which BCSO account ICE contract payments are deposited in, BCSO should take the measures necessary to ensure that they are properly remitted and recorded in a timely manner.

Date published: February 13, 2019
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