The finance director in St. Johns County, Florida, was arrested recently – and then fired – amid accusations she stole more than $700,000 while on the job.
The 47-year-old woman allegedly took the money over a five-year period. She has been charged with more than 150 felony counts, according to an arrest warrant. The counts include felony fraud, forgery, grand theft exceeding $100,000, official misconduct and forgery of bank checks.
The charges came swiftly after the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office ordered an investigation when two employees in the office told the sheriff about “suspicious vendor accounts being paid by the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office,” The St. Augustine Record reported.
A quick investigation by the office showed that allegedly 63 checks totaling in excess of $670,000 had been paid over the past five years to four suspicious accounts. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was brought in to finish the investigation.
During the course of the investigation, it was alleged the suspicious accounts led back to either the finance director’s accounts or to those of close family members, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office said.
An affidavit included with her arrest warrant said she committed the crimes because of “a financial strain on her family and that she did not realize the magnitude of this fraud until she was provided with the dollar amount.”
It continued: “She further stated she did not realize she had a spending addiction until earlier today when she was reviewing her bank records and noticed the amount of money she was spending.”
According to the warrant, she used the money to pay for her father to live in a nursing home, as well as her mortgage and car payments.
She reportedly earned almost $100,000 a year in her job. She began working at the agency in 1991 and had served as the finance director since 2013.
The penalties for white collar crimes in Florida can be extensive. This woman will need strong legal representation as she fights these charges.