The office of the Kern County Treasurer-Tax Collector has recovered most of $19 million stolen from two local school bank accounts held in the treasury early last year.

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools said the treasurer’s office has recovered 96 percent of the money, $2.6 million of which was taken from KCSOS and $16.4 million from the Kern Community College District.

The money was recovered through Wells Fargo largely from reversing fraudulent charges. Kern County Treasurer-Tax Collector Jordan Kaufman said in a previous interview with The Californian that the bank has a 60-day recovery guarantee that helped retrieve a large portion of the losses.

KCCD trustee Bill Thomas said he has been monitoring the progress and has been satisfied with the results.

“I believe we’ll get zeroed out,” he said. “We expect 100 percent of it to be recovered.”

According to the treasurer’s office, the fraud was discovered in early February 2017 and is believed to have been stolen over the course of two to three years.

The money was from clearing accounts held by the two institutions, according to an investigation conducted by The Californian last year. A clearing account is usually a temporary account that holds money meant to be transferred later to another account.

According to the investigation, the money in the accounts had not been dealt with for years prior to the theft. In addition, neither school organization had access to account statements to check if payments were valid.

The FBI is conducting a criminal investigation into the theft. No arrests in the case have been announced.

Officials with the treasurer’s office were unavailable for comment on Friday.

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 661-395-7368. Follow him on Twitter: @JLuiz_TBC.

(3) comments

REMUDA

Can't help but agree with JSmith! AND key words: "FRAUD"! "THEFT"! "STOLEN"! "FBI"! (at last, at last!)
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WHO? WHAT? HOW? WHEN? Name some names and access to such accounts, just as has been done in other cases--"persons of interest"?
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Someone (or a 'GANG') did a CONSPIRACY here! The money was not, and never could be, misplaced or forgotten! Whaddaya think? Better, and more transparent, business management and administration of ALL city and county funds should be the mission strategy.
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Oh yeah, and that goes for the Great "Golden State" Of Californisia that can't even get the title of Proposition Six (6) right to vote YES to repeal the "ILLEGAL CAR TAX" we hired 'The Guvernator' to eliminate, but returned with a vengeance, as our CA oil industry BOOMS IN BILLIONS with the highest pump prices in the country, while our CA and US (D) Senators slither into their 'Dens Of Iniquity And Distraction'!

JSmith

This really irks me. The city and the county want to raise taxes and they got 19 million dollars laying around they forgot about. Vote NO on both these sales tax propositions.

Bushwikker

This is school district money (KCCD and KCSOS). Kern County voters recently approved MILLIONS in bonds for local school districts so that's why they probably "forgot,"

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