NC animal shelter director used funds for online dating, WWE pay-per-view, more, audit says

NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCN) – The State Auditor says the former director of the Carteret County Humane Society and Animal Shelter embezzled tens of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit.

According to an audit released today, the former director spent more than $67,000 on personal expenses including steaks, gas, a Netflix subscription, online dating and her child’s daycare.

The report says she also excluded more than $44,000 in cash receipts from bank deposits.

The audit did not name the director, but says the 2,243 credit card purchases took place between January 2014 and July of 2016.

According to the website, the shelter takes in over 3,200 animals each year.

The audit listed the following examples of questionable purchases:

Convenience store purchases totaling $15,617
The former Shelter Director purchased personal items including gas, cigarettes, cigars, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, sodas, candy, snacks, dairy products, and other general merchandise. According to a Shelter employee, the former Shelter Director was also seen purchasing fuel for a friend using the Shelter’s credit card.

Questionable purchases at Walmart totaling $8,496
The former Shelter Director used the Sam’s Club credit card to purchase clothing, groceries, and baby supplies at Walmart. Purchases included New York strip steaks, baby back ribs, Visa gift cards, diapers, an Easy Bake Oven, capri pants, over-the-counter medications, and toiletries among other personal items.

Questionable expenditures at restaurant and fast food establishments totaling $4,318
A review of the credit card expenditures revealed a total of 156 charges for meals over a 30-month period. Interviews with current and former Shelter employees and the former Shelter Director indicated that some of the meals were personal. In addition, the former Shelter Director could not produce receipts or a documented business purpose for the majority of meal charges.

Other Personal Expenditures
A review of the Shelter’s credit card statements showed that the former Shelter Director spent:

  • $11,343 on phone purchases and cellular services through Verizon and other carriers
  • $6,529 for local car rentals from Avis and Enterprise and personal auto insurance
  • $5,995 for utilities, a storage rental unit, and temporary living arrangements including the Hostess House and Holiday Inn Express
  • $3,200 for her children’s day care
  • $3,000 for a down payment on a Chevrolet Traverse for her personal use
  • $950 on entertainment including sporting goods, Xbox Live, Redbox, Netflix, online dating, movie tickets, and a WWE pay-per-view event
  • Four deposits to correctional facility inmate account(s) totaling $558

The report says the former director had 3 credit cards the shelter’s board did not know about. They have since canceled the cards.

The treasurer of the shelter’s board didn’t maintain adequate oversight of the shelter’s credit cards, the audit report states. The fact that the treasurer didn’t review monthly credit card statements allowed the director to misuse the cards for some time without being caught, the report states.

“When investigators asked the Treasurer if she had reviewed the credit card statements, she responded, ‘I just don’t have time to do that,'” according to the report. “She added that she just tore off the bottom portion of the statement so she could pay the outstanding balance,” the report says.

The Executive Board of the shelter says credit card purchases will now be reviewed monthly by the treasurer and the CPA.

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