Tasked with check on Sheriff’s ‘red flags’

Who better than a former lawman to investigate a law enforcement agency’s books?

Yesterday, City Controller Alan Butkovitz announced Deloitte Financial Advisory Services would helm an unprecedented “comprehensive forensic audit” of the embattled Sheriff’s Office.

Deloitte’s audit team will be helmed by Louis Pichini, former criminal-division chief for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia, where he “oversaw federal investigations and prosecutions of Ponzi schemes, tax fraud and corruption cases.”

Deloitte “demonstrated a clear understanding of the complexities involved in conducting a forensic audit of the Sheriff’s Department,” said Butkovitz, who cited experience in forensic investigations of “municipal and state government agencies, non-profit organizations, utilities and corporate entities that resulted in prosecutions and convictions.”

The audit came about once Butkovitz saw a “number of red flags [that] suggested a heightened risk for improprieties” when looking into Sheriff’s Office finances.

After saying he’d stay on through the audit, former Sheriff John Green retired abruptly New Year’s Eve. His chief deputy, Barbara Deeley, is serving as sheriff while awaiting state Senate approval, which the Committee of Seventy has publicly opposed. The post is up for grabs this year; the field includes John Kromer, a candidate running on the platform of closing the office.

Controller’s Office spokesman Harvey Rice said Deloitte should be done the audit in June, but that timeline depends in part on cooperation.

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