The former president and treasurer of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Institute of Internal Auditors has been accused of embezzling over $30,000 from the organization.
Robin Howard, who had also served as former director of audit services for Prince William County, Va., may have stolen up to $50,000 from the organization. The missing funds were discovered after another treasurer succeeded Howard.
“Our Washington, D.C., chapter had noticed when they had an officer transition this past year that when they were looking at the bank statements and the chapter financial statements that were issued, that there was a large discrepancy between what showed in the bank account and what was actually reported on the financial statements,” said Kevin Mayeux, general counsel and chief operating officer at the IIA. “Then at that point, the chapter leadership went out and engaged a third-party forensic accountant to take a look at the matter, to thoroughly investigate in an independent way what the differences are and why, and then after that believed that there were some significant funds unaccounted for and they turned the matter over to the authorities for their investigation and potential prosecution.”
A bench warrant was issued for Howard last Tuesday in Prince William County, but as of last Friday he had not been arrested.
Prosecutors have charged Howard with stealing $50,000 from the Washington, D.C., chapter. “There are $30,000 directly confirmed as unexplained distributions or disbursements, and upwards to approximately an additional $20,000 that are still to be confirmed,” said Mayeux. The alleged misappropriation took place between October 2009 and August 2011.
Mayeux noted that the D.C. chapter has undertaken a thorough review of its internal control processes in the wake of the discovery of the missing funds. The IIA national headquarters has also formed a task force to look at revising and enhancing its recommended internal controls for chapter around the world. The IIA often provides information to internal auditors on how to improve their internal controls, and the case may become a kind of lesson learned for the organization itself. “That’s certainly how we’ll use it with our membership so we that can continue to improve,” said Mayeux.
The IIA also released a statement explaining the situation. “The Institute of Internal Auditors Global Headquarters is extremely disappointed by the alleged misappropriation of assets that occurred in our Washington, D.C., chapter," the organization said in a statement forwarded by a spokesman. “This is a matter we take very seriously and we are working with our local leadership to take all steps necessary to recover the funds and prosecute the individual allegedly responsible for these actions.
“As soon as we were made aware of the situation by IIA-Washington, D.C., we took immediate steps to launch an investigation. We continue to work closely with IIA-Washington, D.C., to support their steps in seeing justice served. They are able to continue providing their regular programming and member benefits. We all strongly believe in and understand the tenets of strong governance and financial oversight, and we have taken steps to better ensure this does not happen again.
“All IIA chapters have a uniform set of internal controls recommended by IIA Headquarters. We are working closely with all of our volunteer chapter leaders to ensure full understanding of these recommended controls for chapter financial management. We assumed each person entrusted with financial responsibility in our chapter shared the same values we believe to be common within the internal audit profession including honesty, integrity and professionalism.”