Audit critical of Columbia County court and trust funds


ALBANY – A state comptroller’s
office audit of the court and trust funds of Columbia County has made
a number of recommendations to improve its bookkeeping operations.

County officials are responsible for safeguarding court and trust funds
in their care. Pursuant to a court order, certain assets may be provided
to the court and then delivered to the county treasurer for safekeeping,
such as surplus monies from foreclosures.

Also, in certain circumstances, funds from estates are entrusted to the
treasurer for safekeeping by order of the Surrogate’s Court.

The auditors reviewed the books for the period of January 1, 2013 to January
1, 2014.

They identified 15 instances of abandoned property that were not turned
over to the state comptroller. Also, the county clerk’s register
of monies and securities paid, transferred or deposited, or ordered to
be paid, transferred or deposited, to a court is inaccurate.

The Surrogate Court clerk has not kept the required Surrogate’s
register, the state found.

Key recommendations include that the county ensure that all monies deemed
abandoned property are turned over to the state comptroller in a timely
manner; that an up-to-date county clerk’s register is maintained
as required by law; and that the county ensure that all court and trust
fund actions are entered into the Surrogate’s register.


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