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State Auditor: Funds stolen from UNI ticketing operation

Contact: 

James O'Connor, executive director, University Relations, (319) 273-2761, james.oconnor@uni.edu

Steve Carignan, assistant vice president for administration and financial services/executive director, Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, (319) 273-3665, steve.carignan@uni.edu

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The Office of the Auditor of State today released a report detailing the results of its investigation into alleged fraud in the University of Northern Iowa ticketing operation, known as UNItix. According to the auditor's office, former UNItix Assistant Director John David Gogola used a highly complicated system to siphon $18,891 from the system in 2010. Gogola left the university in late 2010.

"A UNItix patron called to confirm when she would receive her Panther Athletics tickets," said Steve Carignan, UNI assistant vice president for administration and financial services and executive director of the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. "The UNItix director found the payment had been received, but the tickets hadn't been issued. An internal review of UNItix records indicated the probable theft of several thousand dollars."

UNI officials immediately contacted the state auditor's office to request a special investigation.

"While the auditor's report identifies accounts that were affected, that doesn't necessarily mean all those accounts actually lost money," explained Carignan. "In the end, almost all the funds taken were from the main UNItix account, but a small number of individuals and groups did lose money. We are contacting  all the people and groups affected and checks are being mailed today to repay the stolen funds. UNI will pursue restitution from Mr. Gogola.

"UNI is committed to continuously improving processes and systems," said Carignan. "The report includes recommendations about how to improve internal controls and transaction security, most of which already have been implemented."

The auditor's report was given to the Black Hawk County Attorney's Office for consideration of criminal charges against Gogola. The full report and related news release are online at http://auditor.iowa.gov/specials/1161-8030-BE00.pdf