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40th time the charm for state gas thief


A state worker took advantage of lax oversight to refill his gas tank 40 times with the state’s money before anyone noticed, Georgia’s inspector general has found.

The employee, a lieutenant at the Savannah Regional Youth Detention Center, used employee identification numbers (EINs) assigned to others when he used a state-issued fuel card to buy gas for himself, IG Elizabeth Archer said in a report issued Monday. State procurement officials said that practice is the most common method for fuel theft at state agencies.

The lieutenant had no trouble obtaining the EINs, which the department records each time a fuel card is used, because they are printed on the front of most employees’ ID badges at the state Department of Juvenile Justice, Archer reported.

Review of monthly fuel transaction reports might have helped flag the problem, but DJJ was two to three months’ late in getting the reports in the mail to supervisors in Savannah, Archer found. E-mail alerts of possible abuses might also have brought the lieutenants’ actions to light, but the department’s fleet manager did not sign up to receive them until about eight months later, she said.

The lieutenant confessed about 40 different fuel thefts to the GBI, Archer reported. A DJJ spokesman said the employee was fired in March.

DJJ still uses EINs for fuel card transactions even though state procurement rules have prohibited the practice since March, the report said.





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