An independent audit of the Broward County, Fla.-based AIDS Project Florida says loosened fiscal policies enacted at the agency in early 2003 contributed to a recent embezzlement scandal, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. Former agency chief financial officer William Diamond, who resigned in March, has admitted to embezzling money from the organization. An earlier internal audit shows that he may have embezzled up to $59,000 by writing checks to himself. He frequently recorded the checks in company records as vendor payments, according to the independent audit. The county health department had suspended $1.5 million in federal spending for the organization until it completes its own audit of APF. The federal funding accounts for more than 25% of APF's annual budget.
An independent auditor says fiscal policies at the agency were "inadequate to protect the assets of the organization," the Sun-Sentinel reports. The "weak fiscal policies" existed under former executive director Norm Kent's tenure from January 2003 to September 2004, according to the new audit.
APF board members say they had been disturbed by Diamond's job performance and had urged current executive director Will Spencer to replace him before the embezzlement scandal broke. Spencer was suspended with pay last week for mismanaging the agency's response to the embezzlement scandal.