Auditor: DHS worker improperly added $52K to husband’s wages to ‘make ends meet’

By: - June 2, 2021 1:36 pm

Iowa Auditor of State Rob Sand speaks during a news conference. (Photo courtesy of Iowa Auditor of State’s office)

For 18 months, an administrative assistant at Iowa’s Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders improperly routed money from the facility to her husband, according to the Iowa Auditor of State.

The unit, known as CCUSO, is run by the Iowa Department of Human Services and is located on the campus of the Cherokee Mental Health Institute. It houses sexually violent predators from throughout Iowa.

Earlier this year, the office of Auditor of State Rob Sand examined alleged improprieties regarding actions taken by a former CCUSO administrative assistant, Renae Rapp, that resulted in unauthorized payroll disbursements to her husband, who was also employed by CCUSO. The suspect payments were made over 18 months between August 2019 and February 2021.

According to Sand’s office, the investigation identified $61,611 in improper disbursements, including $52,618 in wages paid to Rapp’s husband, as well as $8,992 in related payroll costs.

State records indicate Rapp began her employment with CCUSO in April 2012 as a psychiatric security specialist, and in 2015 became an administrative assistant responsible for maintaining employee time and attendance information in an electronic system known as KRONOS. There are four KRONOS kiosks located on the campus where employees use a personally assigned key fob to clock in their arrival and departure time for each day they work.

Rapp’s husband, Adam Rapp, was also employed at CCUSO as a psychiatric security specialist. In February of this year, after noticing Adam Rapp was logging a higher-than-expected number of work hours, CCUSO officials reviewed footage from cameras covering the KRONOS kiosks and determined Renae Rapp had clocked her husband in and out of work using his key fob on days he was not actually on campus.

CCUSO officials placed Renae Rapp on paid administrative leave, then met with her to discuss their concerns. When asked to explain her actions, Renae Rapp allegedly told officials she had no explanation and was “just trying to make ends meet” for her family. A few days later, she resigned, and her husband’s employment as a psychiatric security specialist was terminated.

The auditor’s office has recommended that DHS officials implement procedures to ensure information recorded in the timekeeping system is verified and accurate and that any adjustments to it are properly monitored.

The office also noted that state agencies are required to immediately notify the Auditor of State regarding any suspected embezzlement, theft, or other significant financial irregularities.

According to the auditor’s office, CCUSO officials did not notify DHS officials or the Auditor of State once they suspected irregularities in the way Adam Rapp’s work hours were logged in the KRONOS system.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.