What internal controls might have prevented a Sea World guest relations supervisor from voiding tickets and pocketing more than $116,000?

Mugshot photo of Lisa Olivardia

Source: Orange County Jail mugshot of Lisa Olivardia

A guest relations supervisor at SeaWorld’s Aquatica waterpark in Orlando, Lisa Olivardia, would void ticket sales and put the cash in white envelopes that she then put in her pocket. Investigators estimate that she stole between $55,000 and $75,000 each year from 2013 – 2015. Her voided transactions were about triple the rate of her co-workers. Olivardia was eventually caught in November 2015 after a company investigator saw her making the voids on surveillance video. She was fired by SeaWorld at that time.

Investigators also allege that she stole cash from her co-workers’ cash drawers when they were on breaks.

Olivardia, 50, had worked for SeaWorld for almost 30 years. She was arrested on May 14, 2016, and charged with grand theft and scheme to defraud. Olivardia is free on $105,000 bond.

Questions

  1. What internal controls might have prevented this theft?
  2. Why might Sea World have not had these controls in place?

Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below. Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.

  • Student handout (pdf) (word) (contains entire blog posting + discussion questions)
  • PowerPoint file (brief article overview + discussion questions)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Prentice-Hall.

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