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MASON CITY — The Iowa Department of Revenue is looking into the circumstances revealed earlier this week that showed a shortfall of nearly $284,000 that should have been collected by the Cerro Gordo County treasurer’s office.

County Treasurer Pat Wright requested a state audit when she discovered what she considered irregularities in the processing of vehicle taxes in her office.

The state audit determined policies and procedures for recording vehicle registrations and title transactions did not follow state guidelines.

“Based on the DOT’s calculation, a dealership and a company performing upfitting avoided paying approximately $283,867.50 in first-time registration fees and use tax,” the report said.

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As a result of an internal investigation, Deputy Treasurer Natasha Lewerke was placed on paid administrative leave on July 22, 2015, and was terminated on Jan. 4, 2016. She supervised five office staff, processed motor vehicle transactions and oversaw the staff work in processing the transactions.

The Department of Transportation has turned over its findings to the Department of Revenue for further review.

Paul Steier, head of the DOT’s Bureau of Investigation, said earlier this week he didn’t think any criminal charges were warranted based on the DOT’s investigation.

He declined to name the dealer or the upfitter, saying they were part of an ongoing investigation.

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