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Auditor: Property Management Employee Diverted $50K from Snohomish County

An employee of a contractor hired by Snohomish County diverted more than $50,000 from the county’s Housing Authority, the state auditor has determined.

The property management company was hired by Snohomish County to oversee operations at three affordable and low income housing projects.

In September 2011, the company reported to the state that it had conducted an internal investigation and found that $27,230 was missing. The state opened its own investigation and discovered the property management company’s investment manager had made nearly $39,397 dollars in payments to fictitious vendors.

The money was used to pay the bills of the company’s other properties.

When the investment manager was interviewed by investigators, she admitted to entering and approving fictitious payments in the system.

Auditors found that when the property management company overpaid a vendor $8,000, the investment manager asked the vendor to issue the refund check in her name, which she cashed. She told investigators she used the money to pay invoices, but could not recall which ones.   

The employee no longer works for the company and Snohomish County no longer contracts with the property management company.

The case was forwarded to the county prosecutor’s office.