Police say 37-year-old Donnae Park created bogus checks over the past year totalling about $31,000.
Park is facing charges including theft, tampering with public records and forgery. She turned herself in to Wilmington Police on Tuesday. Police were tipped off by Wilmington Solicitor Michael P. Migliore who noticed some inconsistencies in accounts that Park had accessed.
Police say Park started tampering with the city’s ledger system in April 2012 and issued a total of 19 checks to false vendors. Investigators are still looking through other internal records along with city auditors. She’s been released after posting $235,000 unsecured bond.
Last month, Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams launched a forensic audit of city government. City Auditor Earl Jeter says this incident was one of the reasons Williams started that audit. “My office will continue to do all that we can to ensure that internal controls are in place, operating effectively, and adequately safeguard city assets,” said Jeter.
Williams issued a statement thanking the auditor, solicitor and Wilmington Police for “their swift and appropriate response to this matter.” In an interview on last week’s First, Williams said city leaders had noticed some red flags concerning city finances that warranted further review. “We just want to make sure that everything is being done properly and we don’t have any situation, that there’s no criminal activity.”
Williams says he’s encouraging city employees to freely express their thoughts and concerns about things that impact city operations. In Park’s case, a source within the city shared information that triggered the investigation which led to the criminal charges.