Pierce County public fraud investigation leads to indictment

Mar 5, 2020

In December, we published the results of Washington's largest public fraud investigation on record. This week, the person we identified as having misappropriated $6.9 million from a local government was indicted on federal charges.

It is a good example of the complementary but separate roles of the State Auditor's Office and law enforcement.

State Auditor Pat McCarthy often explains the relationship this way: “We investigate and we illuminate. We don't incarcerate. When we suspect the law has been broken, as in a fraud case, we work hand-in-glove with law enforcement agencies.”

In this case, a routine audit of the Pierce County Housing Authority revealed unusual wire transfers of large sums of money. The subsequent fraud investigation found that the authority's former finance director had been misappropriating funds for a few years.

We turned over the results of that investigation to the FBI. The arrest in the case this week was announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Seattle.