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G.B. Cooley Hospital Service District posted a general fund surplus of some $1.1 million in the past fiscal year as well as a finding related to the arrest of the district's former chief financial officer for allegedly embezzling some $400,000.

Woodard & Associates, a certified public accounting firm in Monroe, performed the audit of G.B. Cooley's finances for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2019 and June 30, 2020.

For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, G.B. Cooley raised some $10.8 million and spent some $12.1 million. After all transfers, G.B. Cooley realized a surplus of some $565,000 in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, G.B. Cooley raised some $12 million and spent some $12.7 million. After all transfers, the hospital service district realized a surplus of some $1.1 million.

At the end of the 2020 fiscal year, G.B. Cooley's general fund balance rose to some $13.2 million.

The G.B. Cooley Hospital Service District was created in 1962 as a component of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury, which appoints the hospital service district’s commissioners. G.B. Cooley provides 24-hour care for individuals with mental or developmental disabilities. The hospital provides all basic needs for each individual, including speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological services and vocational training services.

Though reported as a finding in G.B. Cooley's in 2019, the alleged embezzlement of some $400,000 from the hospital service district's general fund was the grounds for a new finding in the 2020 audit, too.

As previously reported, in late 2019, G.B. Cooley's former financial director, Edward Calloway, of West Monroe, turned himself in to authorities and was charged with felony theft and false accounting.

“The Finance Director while managing the Accounting department fraudulently misappropriated hospital resources by redirecting cash received to personal bank accounts,” stated the audit report.

For the 2019-2020 fiscal year, auditors identified $44,065 that was transferred from G.B. Cooley's general fund to Calloway's personal bank account, according to the audit report. The revenues supporting G.B. Cooley’s general fund were provided through Medicaid funding and parish millage revenues.

“A review of records supported the Finance Director's statements that he falsified documents provided to management, governance, and auditors to hide the transfer of monies, primarily from Medicaid revenue, to his personal bank accounts,” stated the audit report.

Calloway told authorities he had begun stealing money from G.B. Cooley in 2012.

“Calloway said in the beginning he transferred about 1 to 2 transactions a week in the amounts of $400 to $800,” stated Calloway's arrest warrant. “Then he said over time it grew to 2 to 3 times a week in the amounts of $1,400 to $1,900. He estimated during the entire period of the theft he stole $400,000.”

Auditors said they could not recommend any further actions that G.B. Cooley's executive director, Ben Pitts, had not already done. In a response to auditors, G.B. Cooley's management said a professional accounting firm performed monthly bank account reconciliations and a “dishonest CFO (chief financial officer) was replaced with an honest professional.”

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