State Audit uncovers suspected embezzlement by former Braman town clerk

June 7, 2024 | Featured|Headlines

OKLAHOMA CITY— Oklahoma State Auditor & Inspector Cindy Byrd released her forensic audit report this week for the Town of Braman.

Auditor Byrd launched the investigation at the request of District Attorney Brian Hermanson to investigate the activities of Sandra Barrows, town clerk. Barrows oversaw the day-to-day operations of Braman from November of 2016 until her resignation on April 17, 2019. The audit uncovered misappropriated funds totaling $60,289.

“The Board of Trustees bears ultimate responsibility for the financial welfare of the town,” Auditor Cindy Byrd said. “The Town of Braman has an annual budget of roughly $670,000 so this represents a significant portion of taxpayer money.”

Findings of note include:

– Barrows issued improper payments to herself in the amount of $30,300 for undocumented and unsupported mowing, cleaning, travel, medical reimbursements, and the sale of vacation time.

–  Three Board of Trustees members allege Barrows forged their signatures on reimbursements. 

–  Barrows collected $29,989 in cash from citizens paying utility bills but never deposited the money. In the last six months of her employment, zero cash payments were deposited. 

–  Barrows gave herself unauthorized raises. 

“The Board of Trustees could have easily prevented this situation if the basic safeguards of oversight and accountability had been in place,” said Byrd. “Barrows managed the Town’s finances with impunity which is why she was able to misappropriate cash for 18 months without anyone knowing. Our findings were confirmed after Barrows left office and the cash deposits returned to normal.” To read the audit click here