The Department of Health and Environmental Control has warned People Against Rape about their concern “regarding a lack of financial controls,” according to a letter sent by DHEC to PAR.
DHEC Director of Administration Barbara Derrick wrote in the Sept. 14 letter that the issues disclosed by PAR raised many concerns including the failure to timely report the problems, since more than a year elapsed since PAR became aware of the diversion of funding.
Michael Roach, PAR’s board chairman said the board is the group that disclosed the financial irregularities to DHEC.
PAR has lost $300,000 in state grant funding after realizing $60,000 to $80,000 in rent and tax bills had never been paid but had still been submitted for reimbursement to the state agencies, Roach has said.
Board members have blamed a former employee, who has since left the organization.
Board members did not receive notice from their landlord of the lack of payments or notices from other agencies, Roach has said.
When their new treasurer, current board member Vickey Cornelison-Grant, started looking into the agency’s finances, they noticed the red flags, he said.
They began investigating before throwing accusations, according to Roach.
State Law Enforcement Division agents are conducting a preliminary inquiry to determine whether an investigation is warranted into the financial irregularities. North Charleston police are already conducting an investigation.
PAR will have to complete an independent audit and submit a report to DHEC detailing corrective measures already initiated and a plan to address prevention of future issue, Derrick stated in the letter.
PAR laid off its remaining employees last week and is now operating using volunteers for their main services including the 24-hour hotline and crisis calls to the hospital.