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Employees within 2 state departments exaggerated travel expenses

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina taxpayers are footing the bill for state employees' personal travel expenses, revealed two separate reports released Wednesday by the Office of the State Auditor.

The state found that a Department of Public Instruction analyst knowingly submitted false travel reimbursement requests, totaling more than $3,400 during a nine-month period.

State Auditor Beth Wood said the DPI acknowledged that no one was reviewing reimbursement requests before approving them.

"Many times we will concentrate on the person who did the wrong deed or didn't do what they were supposed to, when in reality we should be looking more to management," Wood explained. "It is their responsibility to make sure these kinds of things are not going on."

When asked why the DPI was not verifying reimbursement requests, the DPI declined to comment, citing personnel matters.

The second report found that two Department of Insurance employees exaggerated the miles they drove in their personal vehicles by more than 6,000 miles.

The exaggerated mileage cost taxpayers about $3,800.

The DOI was also wasting more than $13,000 a year by allowing some drivers to use their personal vehicles instead of the department's 74 state-owned vehicles.

"What it continues to reiterate is that the state is not handling, not managing our tax dollars the best we could," Wood said.

Department of Insurance officials were not available for an on-camera response. 

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