A former City of Los Altos employee suspected of stealing more than $30,000 from the city through fraudulent transactions surrendered Monday, Feb. 6, to police, who had obtained a $50,000 arrest warrant for the employee, police said.
Michael Nicolas Trautman, 41, of Mountain View served as the city's information technology manager and was hired by the city in November 2007 after a "complete" background check that "found no questionable personal or professional activities," according to a statement issued by the city Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Trautman resigned in December 2011. Assistant City Manager Jane Logan said that, in his stated reasons for his resignation, Trautman "did not link it to anything involved in the investigation."
In early December, the Police Department was alerted to a suspicious transaction involving the use of a city purchasing card. According to police, the transaction was discovered during a routine review of conference expenses incurred by Trautman.
According to Logan, Trautman had been attending a conference discussing the use of technology in police cars, which was within the scope of his duties. Logan said that the city's annual audits failed to detect any impropriety, prompting the city to have since retained an independent certified professional accounting firm to review its purchasing procedures to see if internal controls can be strengthened.
"We really didn't know what was going on until police got more into the discovery of it," Logan said.
Police said that an audit of Trautman's city-related financial records uncovered "numerous discrepancies," including the purchase of electronics equipment, and that Trautman allegedly submitted forged supporting documents totaling more than $30,000.
The warrant for Trautman's arrest was issued after the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office issued a criminal complaint of grand theft against Trautman. He surrendered on Monday and posted bond, police said. According to the city, it retains an insurance policy that covers employee theft.