A former Helena College employee who said he used the wrong credit card on his Amazon Prime account has pleaded guilty to theft from the college.
Last month, a Montana Legislative Audit Division report found that a Helena College employee had misused a state procurement card, or “procard.” Auditors wrote that “the agency was aware of actual or suspected theft but did not immediately notify either the legislative auditor or the attorney general,” as state law requires, the report stated.
The audit division referred the matter to the Montana Attorney General’s Office, which in turn gave it to the Helena Police Department. Helena College Director of Facilities Matthew Schmidt was charged with theft on Nov. 8.
Helena Municipal Court documents alleged that on Oct. 9, 2018, Schmidt “deprived Helena College of $478.22 by ordering a set of headlights for his personal vehicle with college funds.” He was fined $585 with $250 suspended.
Karen Ogden with the Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education wrote that Smith had left Helena College in May after five years as director of Facilities Services, and that his procurement card was deactivated at that time. Ogden told the Missoulian in an email last week that “Helena College has not received payment at this time.”
In a voicemail, Schmidt said that both his personal credit card and his state procurement card were linked to his Amazon Prime account, and that he mistakenly used the latter when making a personal purchase. “As soon as it was brought to my attention, I returned the item,” he said. “I feel bad that that happened.”
“All Montana University System employees are subject to detailed rules and regulations specific to procard use,” Ogden wrote. “The Montana University System takes management of MUS resources seriously and expects employees to follow all procard rules, policies and procedures.”
The Helena Independent Record contributed reporting to this article.