Thursday, January 26, 2023
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HomeNewsBusinessFormer Spring Lake finance director enters a guilty plea to theft

Former Spring Lake finance director enters a guilty plea to theft

According to the office of United States Attorney Michael Easley, former Spring Lake Finance Director Gay Cameron Tucker admitted guilt on Wednesday to stealing more than $500,000 from the town.

There was no timetable for sentence available right away.
“Tucker, 64, of Fayetteville, forged the signatures of the mayor and town manager to write cheques from the Town’s bank accounts for her personal use.

According to a news release, Tucker pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of embezzlement from a local government receiving federal funding. It states that she might receive a 12-year prison term.

These fake checks were drawn out in her name, used to pay for her own bills, and transferred into her own bank accounts, according to the news release.

Additional repercussions for her could result from the conviction. Dale Folwell, the state treasurer, stated on Wednesday that Tucker’s years of government service, which she racked up while perpetrating her crimes, should be forfeited. Her pension would be lessened by it.

On Wednesday afternoon, it was impossible to contact Tucker’s attorney for comment.

According to the news announcement, Tucker committed his thefts between 2016 and 2021. At the time, Tucker worked as an accounting technician but eventually advanced to the position of finance director.

State Auditor Beth Wood said on Wednesday that she was in charge of the town’s bank accounts and concealed her activities by omitting them from the books of the municipality.

According to Wood, the thefts went unreported for a long time because neither the town nor anyone else was comparing the bank records to its financial records. But ultimately, one of Wood’s staff auditors raised an alarm and intervened.

According to a Wood’s office investigation from March, Tucker spent more than $113,000 in town funds to pay for her husband’s care at Heritage Place Senior Living. She also allegedly wrote checks to herself and deposited town funds into her personal banking account at a credit union. The Auditor’s Office discovered numerous issues with how town officials handled finances and town property, including Tucker’s misdeeds. Records, for instance, show that the town lost track of a number of a dozen town vehicles. Additionally, town employees used their credit cards to make more than 600 purchases worth approximately $103,000 that were not sufficiently supported by receipts to prove that they were made on behalf of the town.

When Wood’s office shared the information with law police, Tucker was charged in June by a federal grand jury. Due to the poor management, the North Carolina Local Government Commission is now closely monitoring Spring Lake’s finances. This board and organisation work to prevent financial difficulties for county, town, and city governments.

The moment Spring Lake Mayor Kia Anthony found out that Tucker had entered a guilty plea, she commented, “It’s the closing of a chapter.” “It’s about time the people of Spring Lake get some answers. Even though we are unable to get back the money that was taken from us, it is encouraging to know that justice will be done.

The town of Spring Lake is improving, according to Anthony, who was elected last year after many of the issues were made public. She claimed that after hiring a new finance director, the town will start conducting interviews for a new town manager to succeed the temporary management the next week. The State Treasurer’s and State Auditor’s offices have been putting pressure on the Board of Aldermen to address the issues in Spring Lake. Wood sits on the Local Government Commission, which is presided over by Folwell and whose staff is a division of the Treasurer’s Office.

News Summary:

  • Former Spring Lake finance director enters a guilty plea to theft
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