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State auditor highlights program that helped Center, Missouri, get back on track

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JEFERSON Mo. (WGEM) -- Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway is highlighting the success of her recent program that helped the City of Center in northeast Missouri.

It's called the Public Corruption and Fraud Division.

In September of last year, Galloway released an audit that found former Center Clerk, Tracey Ray, misappropriated more than $300,000 in taxpayer funds over a four year span.

RELATED: Audit details how former Center, Missouri, clerk misappropriated taxpayer money

Galloway said Thursday that the state started its investigation after a tip from a city employee through the state’s whistleblower hotline.

That allowed her team of attorneys, auditors, and investigators to get to work which found Ray guilty of federal charges of wire fraud and federal program theft. Now she's working to get the city on the right path again.

RELATED: Center, Missouri officials say they’re increasing accountability after audit

"Part of my job is to get a public entity or city back on track when abuse or fraud happens. We make recommendations to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Or if it does again, it is caught quickly so it doesn't add up to $300,000 like it did in the city of Center." said Galloway.

Since 2015, the audits have resulted in 77 criminal charges against public officials. Galloway said if you notice any corruption or abuse of power at the state or local level, you can report it online or over the phone at 1-800-347-8597.

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