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LaSalle County Drug Forfeiture Fund Needs Better Controls, Auditor Says

Flickr user / Images Money "Healthcare Costs" (CC BY 2.0)

Tighter controls are recommended for a checking account controlled by the LaSalle County State's Attorney's Office.

The account, which holds proceeds from drug forfeitures within the county, has been under scrutiny following allegations that former State's Attorney Brian Towne's administration used the funds improperly.

Morris-based Mack & Associates conducted an audit of the previous fiscal year through Nov. 30, when Towne left office. Their report says expenses did not match up with county books, and they recommended the account be placed under the control of the county treasurer.

This report was brought up Wednesday in a State's Attorney oversight committee meeting. First Assistant State's Attorney George Mueller contested the findings, alleging that Mack & Associates had mixed up the account, Fund 1505, with Fund 25, a drug fines account that is already under the treasurer's control. He also says state law explicitly allows the State's Attorney's Office to control drug forfeiture money. 

LaSalle County Auditor Jodi Wilkinson agreed with the outside firm's report. She also said that, while Mueller may be correct about state law, she believes the "decentralized" nature of the account creates an atmosphere that can facilitate fraud and abuse. 

Current State's Attorney Karen Donnelly, who defeated Brian Towne in the last election, partially based her platform on criticizing forfeiture account expenses. 

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