Auditor General Eugene DePasquale today said that the York County Recorder of Deeds office could not explain the account balance of more than $2.14 million held in an escrow fund.
A recently completed audit found the lack of accountability of funds held in escrow dating back to 2009 where county officials failed to complete monthly liability reports showing when the money was collected and to whom the funds were due.
“My team traced this problem back a decade,” DePasquale said. “There must be a full accounting of the millions of dollars in public funds and a change in operations moving forward. There should be a paper trail on every penny of taxpayer funds at all times.”
Monthly reports are essential in providing immediate, up-to-date information, clear accountability over revenue and helping prevent any potential misuse of funds.
The recorder of deeds office collects associated fees due to municipalities, such as real estate transfer fees. The money is then disbursed to the appropriate municipalities. Since 2009, there are no monthly reports verifying to whom the monies were owed.
A 2016 audit report which covered 2009 to 2014 first identified the problem. At that time the former recorder of deeds did not provide a response as to how the office planned to address the finding of inadequate accountability over funds held in escrow.
DePasquale said he gives credit to Laura Shue, current county recorder of deeds, for finally addressing the audit finding. In her discussions with auditors, Shue said she is committed to rectifying the issue.
“I am hopeful that the current recorder of deeds will bring clarity to this issue. She seems committed to making sure tax dollars are accounted for and protected,” DePasquale said.
The recently completed audit covering 2015 through 2017 found that all state funds handled in the recorder of deeds’ office were accounted for appropriately.