Investigation and Indictment

Douglas County Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Program Leads to the Investigation and Indictment of a Former Douglas County Employee
Posted on 09/02/2021
Douglas County Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Program Leads to the Investigation and Indictment of a Former Douglas County EmployeeMinden, Nev. – Three years after the Douglas County Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline was created, the program has resulted in an investigation leading to the indictment of a former Douglas County employee, Rena Petri, for two counts of theft.

Ms. Petri worked in the Douglas County Social Services Department from August 2018 through June 2021 and is accused of using her position as a case manager to fraudulently obtain money through criminal activity. For additional information regarding the indictment click here.

The Douglas County Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Hotline was created in May 2018 and is administered by an independent third party. Each complaint is thoroughly investigated, and the status of complaints is reported to the Douglas County Audit Committee by the County’s independent Internal Auditor, Moss Adams.

When complaints are substantiated, appropriate steps are taken to address violations of County Code and/or County policy and to hold the individuals responsible accountable for their actions. To date, the Fraud Waste and Abuse program has resulted in this one referral to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal investigation.

“Although I am disappointed by the circumstances of this isolated incident, I am encouraged by the fact that the safeguards the Board of County Commissioners and County leadership has put in place are working to catch and address instances of wrongdoing quickly” said Patrick Cates, Douglas County Manager. “When I was first hired as County Manager, I made it clear I consider public service to be a privilege. I understand we are entrusted by the public to be good stewards of taxpayer money. There is no place in this organization for anyone who would betray that trust. Together with the County Commission, we remain committed to ensuring transparency and accountability in local government.”

The County has taken a number of important steps since 2018 to review and update financial policies and internal controls to detect and prevent the misuse of County funds and resources. Douglas County employees receive training annually on ethics in government and are encouraged as a part of this training to use the hotline to report suspected wrongdoing.

Prior to this investigation, the new Social Services Manager, who was hired in 2021, had already started to formalize processes, create department efficiencies, and improve service delivery and performance. In addition to the work done as part of this criminal investigation, the County is also currently working with Moss Adams and Social Services Management to conduct a thorough review of operating procedures within the department to identify additional needed changes.

For more information about the Fraud, Waste, and Abuse program or to access the hotline, please visit:

https://www.douglascountynv.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=12493103&pageId=14956666

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