CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Marine Corps had an accounting problem within its Special Operations Command that recently led to tens of millions of dollars in undocumented or improperly filed transactions, according to an audit released Thursday by the Department of Defense Inspector General.

Auditors looked at a small sample of all the command’s financial transactions between 2008 and 2009 and found that in one example Special Operations processed $700,000 in purchases without receipts.

In all, the inspector general’s office said that about 77 percent of the 320 Special Operations transactions it investigated from that time period included at least one incorrect or missing piece of documentation.

The Marine Corps command is responsible for deploying special operators around the world to fight terrorism but had not been adequately logging finances during the drawdown in Iraq and the wind up in Afghanistan, the audit said. It happened because the “command comptroller lacked adequate standard operating procedures, training to guide personnel in the performance of their duties and quality assurance reviews,” it said. “Command personnel were also frequently deployed and the positions were filled with inexperienced personnel.”

At least some of the accounting errors lead to money being improperly paid out and also threatened large percentages of the Special Operations budget, the inspector general’s office said.

“As a result, the Command made improper travel payments valued at $11,000,” the audit said. Additionally, the command increased the risk of reporting inaccurate or incomplete financial data valued at $37 million of the $131.8 million in obligations and $20 million of the $54.1 million in expenditures, according to the report.

The Special Operations Command and the Navy said they began new staff training in 2010 to correct the problem, and the inspector general’s office said the service may soon recoup most of the $11,000 that was mistakenly paid out for travel vouchers.

Read the full audit here.

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