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.