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Audit: Iowa agency delayed theft investigation

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An audit report is criticizing Iowa Workforce Development for delaying an investigation into an employee suspected of embezzling unemployment benefits.

An employee at its Cedar Rapids office, Linda Pippen, was sentenced last year to 4 years in prison for embezzling more than $40,000.

State Auditor David Vaudt released a report Friday criticizing IWD's response when it learned in 2009 of irregularities regarding Pippen.

Director Teresa Wahlert said Friday she agreed the agency's practices "were not stringent enough to prevent a deceptive practice of fraud" under the prior administration.

Vaudt says agency officials delayed an internal investigation for months by waiting for someone whose identity was stolen to file a police report. Vaudt says the agency failed to immediately notify his office of the suspected embezzlement as required under Iowa law.

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