March 23, 2024

The associate deputy comptroller then referred the matter to Deputy Comptroller Cheryl Mekarski, who apparently facilitated the routing change. 

At no point, apparently, was the banking information double-checked with anyone. Cerrone Inc. called public works to check on the lack of payment, and the Comptroller’s Office discovered the payment misdirection on Wednesday and has been working with the county attorney and District Attorney’s Office since then, according to county officials.

Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, who has described himself as the county’s fiscal watchdog, said his office processes more than 299,000 financial transactions a year. Changing banks and accounts is not unusual for businesses, he said, and if every transaction was fully scrutinized, payments would be backed up for years. He also said other county departments are supposed to manage contracts and contractors, and that his office’s output is only as good as the input received from departments.

“We’re at the very tail end of the process,” he said.

A spokesman for County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Peter Anderson, criticized Mychajliw for not having a process for guarding against this type of fraud. Anderson said Mychajliw’s office handles all banking and financial transactions, not individual county departments. He referred to the comptroller’s own office policy that requires “that only authorized disbursements be made.”

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