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Audit: Oakdale clerk overpaid herself more than $700K over seven years

A former Oakdale city clerk overpaid herself more than $700,000 from the city over seven years,...
A former Oakdale city clerk overpaid herself more than $700,000 from the city over seven years, according to a report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office.(KPLC)
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 11:48 AM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A former Oakdale city clerk overpaid herself more than $700,000 from the city over seven years, according to a report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office.

“Investigative auditors found that, between January 2014 and March 2021, the former city clerk paid herself $769,136 more than her authorized salary by diverting electronic transfers of city funds,” according to the Legislative Auditor’s Office.

The auditor’s office also found the clerk received $13,000 in checks to which she was not entitled and used $115,000 in city funds to make payments to her credit cards.

The accused clerk, Melissa “Lisa” Schaefer, died on March 11 after serving as Oakdale City Clerk for more than 18 years.

In a letter included in the auditor’s report, Mayor Gene Paul said Oakdale has recovered $105,000, and “intends to pursue all causes of action available to recover the remaining monies.”

A previous audit released in June 2021 accused Schaefer of stealing $360,000, but only went back to 2019.

The report released Monday audited the city’s numbers dating to 2014.

Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s summary:

  • “Former City Clerk Melissa Schaefer manipulated Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers to pay herself $769,136 more than her authorized salary from January 1, 2014 to March 17, 2021. By improperly transferring and receiving City funds she was not entitled to receive, Ms. Schaefer may have violated state law.”
  • “Ms. Schaefer signed and received 93 City Checks totaling $59,945 from January 1, 2014 to March 17, 2021. City records show she was not entitled to receive $13,378 of the payments. By authorizing and receiving City funds she was not entitled to, Ms. Schaefer may have violated state law.”
  • “City funds were used to make 63 payments totaling $115,304 to two credit card accounts of Ms. Schaefer from August 26, 2014 to December 30, 2019. The City does not have any documentation to show she was entitled to receive the benefit of the payments, or that the purchases were made to benefit the City. By using City funds she was not entitled to, Ms. Schaefer may have violated state law.”

Read the full report HERE.

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