Audit found significant findings in Richland Parish - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Audit found significant findings in Richland Parish

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RAYVILLE La. (KNOE 8 News) - If you live in the Richland Parish town of Rayville, you could be owed some cash.

That's because community leaders were collecting sales taxes for almost a year they were not authorized to collect.

The town of Rayville owes people more than $500,000 after an audit by the state showed the town kept collecting sales taxes after the tax expired in 2012.

"It was an oversight on our part and the tax commissioner had informed us that the tax had expired but by the time we were informed, we had already continued to collect the tax," said Harry Lewis, Rayville Mayor.

That means everyone who bought anything in the town between July 2012 and march 2013 paid 1 cent extra on every dollar they spent.

The town continued to collect, but the mayor has a plan to pay back every last cent.

"We figured out a process. The money that had already been collected, to give the citizen an opportunity to be reimbursed by the tax that was collected," said Lewis.

And the people that are owed can use receipts as proof to collect money back from an escrow account set up by the city.

"I have them in old purses and everywhere I'm going to go back and dig them out since you told me, I'm glad," said Vickey Tibbs.

A lot of people KNOE spoke with weren't as fortunate at Vickey to have their old receipts, and there are people who will benefit more than others –those who made more expensive transactions within the eight month period.

"Checks that I've signed, we were talking tractors, cars, big ticket items," said Lewis.

The auditors also found embezzlement of the town's money.

It was determined that crime was committed by a Rayville Town employee who was responsible for collecting and balancing Rayville's cash.

The person stole $5,000 throughout the course of the year.

The audit showed the town had made changes to prevent this from happening again.

You have three years to gather receipts, and you can take them to the Mayor's Office or the auditor for refunds.

Our calls seeking more information on the embezzlement charge were not returned.

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