(Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) has contracted with CliftonLarsonAllen LLC to conduct a forensic audit of the agency.

The audit is a key pillar of Operation Restore Trust, a major initiative that Executive Director Robert G. “Bob” Anderson launched upon his appointment by Governor Tate Reeves to lead the agency in March 2020. The audit will provide a complete review of the agency’s practices and ensure it is operating with integrity and in compliance with departmental policies and state and federal laws.

“I’m very pleased that Clifton Larson will be conducting this forensic audit,” Anderson said. “This was a very thorough selection process, and Clifton Larson was a unanimous selection. This is a major part of Operation Restore Trust, and I’m confident it will allow us to embrace change and move forward with confidence in our ability to succeed.”

Through this forensic audit, MDHS is seeking a complete, objective, and accurate assessment of any misspent funds, the identity of any MDHS personnel that may have been involved, and the scope of any civil or criminal fraud discovered within the period from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2019.

A forensic audit analyzes a specific set of transactions or to search for misappropriated assets. Forensic audits do not have a materiality threshold; every act or evidence of suspicious activity is material.

The international CPA firm was selected by a 5-person committee made up of representatives from within the agency and the Office of the State Auditor. OSA has been, and will continue to be, a third-party participant in the forensic audit process. Serving on the selection committee were:

From MDHS: Sandra Griffith, MDHS Chief Compliance Officer

Rachelle Richardson, MDHS Deputy Executive Director for Age Related Programs

Chris Rand, MDHS Director of Internal Audit

And from the Office of the State Auditor:

Stephanie Palmertree, OSA Director, Financial Compliance Division)

Michael Torres, OSA, Agency Audit Division

After careful consideration all the information provided by the firms responding to the Request for Information (RFI) for the forensic audit, the evaluation committee recommended Clifton Larson Allen, LLP by consensus as the highest-ranking response to the RFI.

With 6,200 employees in 120 U.S. locations and a global affiliation, CliftonLarsonAllen is a professional services network and the eighth largest accountancy firm in the United States. CLA is consistently recognized been recognized as one of the 2019 top 10 accounting firms by Accounting Today. The publication ranks the top 100 firms annually. For the second year, CLA came in at number eight.

Executive Director Anderson has also appointed an Audit Committee at MDHS to work alongside the forensic audit firm team throughout the forensic audit.  The Audit Committee includes:  Bridgette Bell, Chief Financial Officer; Brett Robinson, of the Division of Internal Audit; Kameron Harris, Deputy Compliance Officer; and Nathan Wilson, Deputy Executive Director for Administrative Services.

The forensic audit will commence September 8, 2020 and will continue through May 31, 2021. The cost of the audit will be $2,107,494 and will be paid for with federal funds provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information on MDHS and its subordinate divisions, visit https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/.