State Auditor's E-Update - 8/6/2021

1. Message from Auditor Blaha

2. Reminder: Copies of Completed TIF Forms

3. Reminder: Forfeiture Reporting

4. Pension: Maximum Benefit Levels

5. Avoiding Pitfall: The “Fraud Triangle”

1. Message from Auditor Blaha

Many of you may know that State Auditor Blaha was in a car accident this week with Senator Melisa Franzen as they were traveling back from Farmfest in Morgan, MN. Auditor Blaha is now home and resting. Yesterday, she posted this update on social media, which we wanted to share with you:

I am truly grateful for the outpouring of love and support shown to Senator Melisa Franzen and I. We are fortunate to have sustained minimal injury from our rollover accident after departing Farmfest. I remained overnight in the hospital for a minor concussion and I’m heading home today.

I get to go home today because of everyone who helped us on the scene, the first responders, state troopers, and the amazing health care providers at Carris Health Hospital in Redwood Falls. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

At this time we’re waiting for law enforcement to sort out the complete details of the accident.

Senator Melisa Franzen and I spoke this morning and I was so happy to hear my friend’s voice.

2. Reminder: Copies of Completed TIF Forms

Annual reporting forms were due on August 2, 2021. Please submit your reports as soon as possible if they are still outstanding.

As a reminder, authorities must also provide copies of completed TIF Annual Reporting Forms to their county auditor and, if the authority is not the municipality, to the municipality’s governing body.

If you have any questions, please contact us at

3. Reminder: Forfeiture Reporting

Law enforcement agencies can continue to report forfeitures disposed in 2021. The designated individual(s) responsible for reporting forfeitures to the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) must have a username and password to log into the State Auditor’s Form Entry System (SAFES).

If you have not received a username and password, please e-mail your public contact information, including your name, email address, phone number, and the physical address of your entity to Login information will be e-mailed to you. Once you have a username and password, you can log into SAFES to report forfeitures.

Instructions on using SAFES and completing the Forfeiture Incident Reporting Form is on the OSA's website.

4. Pension: Maximum Benefit Levels

We are seeing more relief associations operating at or near their maximum allowable benefit levels. It is very important for relief association trustees and municipal officials to monitor maximum benefit levels. Penalties for paying service pensions using a benefit level higher than the maximum level may include the disqualification from receiving fire state aid.

For additional information regarding maximum benefit levels, see the OSA’s Statement of Position on this topic.

5. Avoiding Pitfall: The "Fraud Triangle"

When reviewing the risk of fraud, auditors often refer to the “Fraud Triangle”, first identified by sociologist Donald Cressey. The “points” of the Fraud Triangle are made up of three factors which are present for fraud:

  • Incentive/Pressure. A pressure, such as a financial need; is often the “motive” for committing the fraud. One common pressure is a gambling problem.
  • Rationalization. The person committing the fraud frequently rationalizes the fraud. Rationalizations may include, “I’ll pay the money back”, “They will never miss the funds”, or “They don’t pay me enough.”
  • Opportunity. The person committing the fraud sees an internal control weakness and, believing no one will notice if funds are taken, begins the fraud with a small amount of money. If no one notices, the amount will usually grow larger.

This Avoiding Pitfall is available on our website here.