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Oklahoma City parking lot attendant accused of stealing nearly half million dollars

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A downtown parking lot attendant is accused of ripping off the city.

An audit released this week to the city council details the alleged theft.

The suspect is accused of embezzling nearly a half million dollars.

"When people have access to cash, sometimes they give into temptation," said Oklahoma City councilman David Greenwell.

Greenwell, CPA and certified fraud examiner himself, says the theft had been going on for years.

According to the city audit, the employee stole $80,000 in 2012, $55,000 the next year and more than $283,000 last year.

That comes to a total of more than $419,000.

"It's very disappointing. no one likes to see this kind of activity," said Greenwell.

"It's disappointing that one employee did this," said Jason Ferbrache, with COTPA.

The city and the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority contracts with a company called Republic Parking Systems to oversee five parking garages and nine surface lots downtown.

One of Republic's employees is allegedly behind the embezzlement, although the company has taken responsibility for the theft.

"Republic has been cooperative and promised to repay us for the money that was diverted," said Ferbrache.

To prevent future crimes, the company has committed to more frequent audits and additional oversight on the custody of cash.

"We are strengthening our internal controls and put in place more rigorous oversight as recommended by the auditor," said Ferbrache.

"I do believe this activity will not occur in the future," said Greenwell.

So far, the employee has not been arrested or charged with a crime, but that criminal investigation has just gotten started.

The general manager with Republic declined to comment on the case.

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