State Auditor Crit Luallen has referred Perry County's 2006 audit to the state attorney general. A review of the county's finances found that the Perry County clerk's official bank account had a deficit of $21,473.
Luallen said the investigation is pointing toward former employees of County Clerk Haven King.
"The clerk himself is cooperating fully with our office," Luallen said. "We have no reason to believe that he was personally implicated in any way."
The attorney general's office will determine whether there is any criminal wrongdoing.
In the audit, which was released Tuesday, Luallen also found that:
■ An accurate receipts ledger wasn't maintained. There were 131 instances, totaling $11,298, in which personal property tax receipts were not recorded in the ledger. Other licensing fees and taxes of nearly $8,600 were not recorded.
■ The county clerk did not have adequate segregation of duties over procedures for recording and reporting motor vehicle license fees, tangible personal property tax and usage tax. Too many people shared various duties of collecting, recording and depositing receipts, Luallen said, so it was impossible to spot irregularities.
■ More than $10,000 in checks was cashed out of office funds to former employees and third parties. In one case, $3,850 in checks cashed by a former employee was returned with insufficient funds.
Money is still missing, and the problems revolve around one employee who resigned after the audit started in 2007, King said.
"Whoever is guilty, we need to find them, prosecute them and get the money back," King said.
The county clerk's office has been using the same procedures and policies since King took office in 1996, he said, and when the state audit found problems, those procedures were changed immediately.
"We found the problem; we fixed the problem," King said.