Investigation into $80K unaccounted reward playing cards underway in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Tuesday, Portsmouth Metropolis Supervisor Tonya Chapman revealed an investigation is underway, trying into $80,000 value of reward playing cards for residents which might be unaccounted.

This cash is federal funds associated to the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to assist individuals get better throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Tuesday’s work session, metropolis council members had numerous questions for Chapman. The timeline of those vents began earlier than Chapman began as Portsmouth’s metropolis supervisor.

Based on Chapman, in April 2022, greater than $3.2 million was spent shopping for reward playing cards with federal funds. Chapman stated these tried to cowl the senior care initiative and common fundamental revenue funds.

Finally, Chapman said they discovered the reward playing cards have been unsecured in an worker’s workplace.

Metropolis officers labored with the Metropolis Treasurer and Portsmouth Police to try to account for playing cards and put them in a safe location. After that, officers discovered there have been $2.3 million left in reward playing cards, with expiration dates of Could 2023 and August 2023.

Later in Tuesday’s work session, Chapman revealed to metropolis council members, after additional investigation by the interim chief monetary officer (CFO), $80,000 of those reward playing cards have been unaccounted.

Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover requested if there was a verify and steadiness with these reward playing cards.

Chapman responded, saying they’ve some documentation of playing cards, however the problem continues to be underneath investigation.

When Mayor Glover requested Chapman how lengthy it’ll take to search out out the place that cash went, Chapman responded that the town must do an unbiased evaluation.

“We have to do an unbiased evaluation of our ARPA funds, in addition to different points that have been relayed to you all individually to have an unbiased agency come and do a deep dive. as a result of we’re speaking $80,000 value of $100 playing cards,” Chapman stated.

One metropolis council member, Invoice Moody, had a whole lot of questions for Chapman. He stated he simply realized concerning the reward playing cards throughout Tuesday’s work session. Moody additionally requested Chapman why there was a wait on a forensic audit.

“There is a course of,” Chapman stated. “I would want to get the price for the forensic audit, then I would want to return again to council to get approval, relying on how a lot that value is. I’ve turned the matter over to the correct authorities, they’re doing their investigation, so nobody’s ready.”

Moody additionally emphasised a way of urgency for the forensic audit, with the Could deadline looming when a few of these playing cards are set to run out.

Chapman additionally emphasised the necessity to distribute the reward playing cards as quickly as potential.

Her advice is thru ROC the Block, distributing the playing cards to individuals in neighborhoods assembly ARPA tips.