A former city employee is facing theft and fraud charges for stealing more than $15,000 from Unalaska’s local government.
City Manager Dave Martinson declined to name the recently fired employee. But court records show that accounting assistant Matapua Natalie Faailoga was charged last week with four felonies related to theft, fraud, forgery, and tampering with evidence.
Martinson said other members of the Finance Department noticed that funds were missing on July 10.
“We had a community member that we contacted about paying a bill, who indicated they’d already paid the bill,” he said. “From there, we got a copy of their receipt and identified that there was cash missing.”
Martinson said an internal investigation revealed that Faailoga was siphoning money from cash receipts before the payments were officially recorded in a computer program.
“We were fortunate to identify it when we did, nip it, and start implementing a process that will hopefully make it extremely difficult for someone to repeat that type of endeavor,” he said.
Now, accounting officials are required to log payments and print receipts as soon as customers pay their bills. That process may mean longer waits at City Hall, but Martinson said the money will be more secure.
Faailoga’s first court appearance is Aug. 8.
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The City of Unalaska has fired one of its employees for stealing money from the local government.
Officials noticed the missing funds on July 10, according to a statement from City Manager Dave Martinson.
He said an internal investigation uncovered enough evidence to terminate a city employee and spark an ongoing criminal investigation by the Department of Public Safety.
The city has not released the name of the former employee or the amount of pilfered funds.
As a result of the theft, Martinson said the Finance Department is tightening procedures for how the city handles cash receipts.