02/29/04 — Goodman charged with falsifying reports

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Goodman charged with falsifying reports

By Don McLoud
Published in News on February 29, 2004 2:01 AM

City Councilman William Goodman was charged Friday by the State Bureau of Investigation with falsifying expense reports while employed by the state Department of Correction, according to a report in the Raleigh News & Observer.

Goodman was freed on a $25,000 bond, but did not return calls to the News-Argus.

According to the report, the SBI has accused Goodman of submitting for reimbursement expense reports for lodging expenses incurred while he was employed with the DOC. Investigators think the council member falsely billed the state on five different occasions.

The offenses occurred from 1998 through 2002. Goodman retired from the DOC in July 2002, after the allegations first surfaced. The report stated that Goodman falsely billed the state for the sums of $215, $265, $240, $300 and $303.85.

The arrest was the culmination of an investigation that began in 2002.

An internal audit report released in August 2002 from the North Carolina Department of Corrections outlined several allegations of fraud and misconduct regarding Goodman that included turning in false expense reports and billing the state for expenses to attend City Council meetings.

In April 2002, the State Bureau of Investigation requested that the DOC investigate allegations regarding Goodman, who was, at that time, the eastern region training coordinator of the Office of Staff Development and Training for the Corrections Department.

The audit report said Goodman submitted falsified travel expense reports for a two-year period. The invoices showed fraudulent lodging records, duplicate travel expenses and a misuse of state funds to attend City Council meetings.

The audit report outlined the following allegations:

Goodman purchased a condominium at Carolina Beach in 1999, which was rented during the peak summer months. During those months, the real estate company collected the rent, withheld its commission, and forwarded the remainder of the payment to Goodman.

In a written statement to the DOC auditors, the real estate company's owner and property manager stated that in months other than June, July, and August when the condo was not rented, Goodman stayed in the condo and incurred no out-of-pocket lodging expenses.

The property manager provided Goodman with a statement on the company's letterhead stationary showing dates he stayed in the condo at $60 or more per night.

She told the auditors that these statements did not represent receipts for lodging expense and had only been provided to Goodman because he asked for them, and that no money had exchanged hands. Using those statements, Goodman completed his expense reports. Based on those initial findings, the Corrections Department notified the SBI in June of its suspicion that Goodman had defrauded the state.

Fraudulent expense vouchers totaling over $300 for attending Goldsboro City Council meetings from November 1999 to April 2002 were also submitted by Goodman, the report said. His mileage logs indicated a possible misuse of a state vehicle when attending the council meetings.

Goodman submitted and received reimbursement for duplicate travel expenses, the report showed.

The DOC report was turned over to the SBI in 2002, and the state investigated the case for more than a year before charging Goodman Friday.