CARTERET COUNTY, NC (WITN) - An investigation by the Office of the State Auditor accuses the former director of a local animal shelter of embezzlement and misusing credit cards.
State Auditor Beth Wood's office says that it received a complaint through its hotline that the director at the time was embezzling funds and misusing credit cards for the Carteret County Humane Society & Animal Shelter.
Authorities identify the former director as Candace Christopherson.
The state's investigation found that between January of 2014 and July of 2016, the director used the shelter's credit cards for personal or unnecessary purchases totaling more than $67,000.
Questionable purchases documented in the auditor's report include New York strip steaks from Walmart, over $11k on phone purchases and cellular services, $3,200 for children's day care, and $950 on entertainment including a WWE pay-per-view event.
The audit states that the director was the only employee authorized to use the shelter's credit cards, and that inadequate oversight resulted in the diversion of funds.
They are also accused in the audit of excluding more than $44,000 in cash receipts from bank deposits.
The audit states that between January 2015 and September 2016, the shelter received $44,364 in cash that was not included in its bank deposits. An analysis found that only $12,018 was deposited in the bank.
In the audit, a shelter employee claims that shelter cash was kept in a locked drawer in the director's office, and that one day it was replaced with a "sticky note" from the director indicating she owed the shelter money. Another employee interviewed says she witnessed the director separating cash from shelter sales receipts and placing the cash in her back pocket.
The audit states that the failure of the director to deposit cash received at the shelter resulted in less funding for the care of stray, abandoned, and surrendered pets and shelter improvements.
The results of the audit have been given to local law enforcement and district attorney.
The Carteret County Sheriff's Office tells WITN that its investigation began in December of 2016 and continues.
No charges have been filed at this time.