Victoria Payseur, vice president for business and finance, addressed the press at 3 p.m. on April 21 to “clarify” information about the alleged embezzlement of over $600,000 dollars by a former university employee. This morning, Robert Alex Harlan, 49, the former director of student accounts turned himself in to Des Moines Police, after being accused of the crime.
The press release, which was read at the conference, states:
“Drake University wishes to clarify certain information surrounding the alleged embezzlement of University funds.
“The University responded to this isolated incident quickly, and in accordance with University protocols. The alleged fraud appears to have occurred solely in one office. Internal financial controls were circumvented by a veteran employee with knowledge of those controls. An employee in the University’s business and finance operation uncovered the alleged fraud. Drake immediately notified its legal counsel and auditors. The alleged perpetrator was terminated and the University subsequently contacted its insurance carrier and the police.
“The University has significant internal controls in place to help prevent being the victim of fraud and theft, and additional procedures are now being implemented to guard against the future circumvention of those controls. Drake contracts with a major accounting firm that conducts an annual independent audit of the University’s finances. Numerous and frequent other audits are conducted on a regular basis by outside firms and regulatory agencies.
“The alleged fraud appears to have been isolated to one office. No current students accounts, federal or state funds, payroll information, investment accounts, donor information or credit card information appear to have been impacted. The alleged fraud is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Des Moines Police Department, and it would be inappropriate for Drake to comment on specifics of the alleged crime at this time. Any requests for further information should be made to the police department.”