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Worker surrenders to charges of stealing from center

3 years 10 months 2 weeks ago August 08, 2013 Aug 8, 2013 Thursday, August 08 2013 August 08, 2013 9:28 PM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Ryan Naquin

BATON ROUGE - A man wanted for stealing thousands of dollars from a community center turned himself in Thursday, according to Baton Rouge Police Cpl. Don Coppola.

Matthew Patterson III is a former employee of the Leo Butler Community Center in Baton Rouge. Police say Patterson is responsible for taking $3,260 from the center.

An investigation began in March after a customer approached the center's director about $75 she'd given Patterson for a deposit that she never got back from him. Police said the director later found several other instances where Patterson collected money from individuals but did not deposit that money into the bank.

When the director confronted Patterson about the missing money, the report says Patterson resigned.

The director told police Patterson admitted to taking nearly $2,200 from the center, including two money orders worth $300 each, and that his mother wanted to pay back the money. The director did not take the money as restitution, according to the report.

An audit done by the city-parish found that on 19 different instances there were documented transactions where the community center took in money that was never deposited and unaccounted for. The audit also revealed that 14 receipts worth $2,545 were never deposited into the bank, and one time less money was deposited than taken in. In addition to those receipts, the auditor found three money orders worth $300 each were received from Catholic Charities but never deposited.

Police charged Patterson with felony theft and malfeasance in office.

Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden has asked the metro council to put him in control of community center budgets.  He said it is because of issues with spending and possible wrongdoing.

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