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Financial scandal rocks Ryan

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla._The Oklahoma State Auditor’s Office has uncovered a huge financial scandal in the Jefferson County town of Ryan.

State Auditor Gary Jones released the findings Thursday, which revealed that more than $175,000 in cash and equipment has vanished.  Jones said the town’s former treasurer, Kathy Laskowski, admitted her responsibility during a videotaped interview with investigators.  

The report said Laskowski confessed that she took between $3,000 and $4,000 each month from customers' utility payments during the 23 ½ months she was on the job, for a total of up to $94,000. She resigned in July.

The report also found Laskowski obtained insurance for her husband without approval from city officials. As a result, the town paid $12,164 in insurance benefits. 

She also used the town's Wal-Mart Community card for $11,283 worth of personal shopping.  There were also payments of $17,740 to Office Depot that were undocumented. Items purchased from those stores, such as laptops, tablets, cameras and smartphones, are currently unaccounted for. 

The audit said Laskowski made questionable payments to herself of more than $17,493 in additional wages and undocumented overtime.

The audit noted that the town had combined the positions of Town Clerk and Town Treasurer just prior to Laskowski's hiring, which gave her virtually all control and oversight of Ryan’s finances.

The audit was requested by District Attorney Jason Hicks, and his office is now reviewing the findings.  No charges have been filed yet as a result of the investigation.

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