Greenville’s frozen federal forfeiture fund requires $47k audit

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FORFEITURE FUND_22993

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The U.S. Department of Justice froze Greenville’s federal forfeiture fund, requiring an audit that will cost as much as $47,000 and delay a key initiative for the police department.

The federal government will lift the freeze once an audit is completed on five fiscal years worth of fund records.

The city will work with auditing firm Cherry Bekaert to conduct the review which could cost as much as $47,250.

The Greenville Police Department planned to use the fund to equip all of its officers with body cameras, but it now must wait for the audit to be completed.

The Department of Justice transfers money to the city’s federal forfeiture fund after it sells assets seized by the police department during criminal investigation.

City manager Barbara Lipscomb said the Department of Justice called for the audit after a periodic review discovered significant delays in when the city would transfer money from the fund to the police department and when it actually did.

“I think it’s more of a procedures thing,” Lipscomb said. “I don’t sense that there’s any concern about theft of money or anything like that.”

Lipscomb expects the audit will take three months.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this article reported city taxpayers will be required to pay as much as $47,000 for the aforementioned audit. City spokesman Steve Hawley said the federal government will pay for the audit.

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