CARTHAGE, Mo — Theft and fraud are the focus of an investigation into a local parks and rec department. Carthage City Council members, this week, agreed to hire a forensic accountant to “analyze and evaluate financial irregularities within the parks and recreation department including the golf course.”

Carthage Police Chief, Bill Hawkins says the investigation started at the end of last year — and focused on potential financial manipulation of parks and rec — and the golf course.

“Due to the way the city finances work – specifically golf and parks – there’s different accounts, different line items. And so following the trail of that is really far and above the expertise of just the average investigator. It takes someone very familiar with accounting, very detailed oriented of that nature,” said Chief Hawkins.

Council members approved the forensic audit during a closed session meeting Tuesday night.

The city is currently looking for a firm to carry out the audit.