Background check never completed on employee accused of theft

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, October 10, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Almost 3,000 people work for the City of Augusta and a background check is supposed to be done on each one of them. But the background check for Katrina Jones was never completed.

She's now accused of stealing $71,000 of your money while working as a clerk for the city landfill. Officials say the money was stolen during a 6-month time period.

"It was her job to basically deliver that to the bank so we handed it to her and told her to take it to the bank and that wasn't being done," says City Administrator Fred Russell.

Instead Jones supposedly pocketed the money. And since the city never completed a background check , they didn't know Jones pled guilty to deposit account fraud, was charged with giving a false name to law enforcement and was convicted of cocaine possession. On top of that, she was on felony probation when she was hired.

The city takes responsibilty.

"Well, it was a mistake. She should not of been hired, but they were not aware of the problems in her background at the time," says Human Resources Director Robby Burns.

Officials say Jones transposed the last four digits of her social security number, so the background report did not match.

The city says they've implemented a new policy to prevent mistakes like this from happening again.

"We have to send a notarized copy of the form to the sheriff's department to do the background checks (on job applicants) and we have to make sure we check the social security card with the form they fill out," said Burns.

Precautions to keep a better tab on who the city hires -- And who handles your tax money.

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