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WCBD News 2: Former Crisis Ministries CFO accused of embezzling more than $400k

CHARLESTON, SC – The former Chief Financial Officer for Crisis Ministries is facing federal charges for embezzling more than $400,000 from the homeless shelter.

Last June, Carol Libby was arrested for allegedly embezzling around $96,000. Following the investigation, it was announced on Tuesday that Libby allegedly embezzled $440,000.

“A thorough investigation has revealed the extent of the theft is much greater than originally uncovered,” Crisis Ministries spokesperson Elizabeth Boineau said.

Related: Homeless shelter employee now charged with embezzling $96K

Documents claim Libby, “fraudently generated more than 400 unauthorized business checks from Crisis Ministries, and she made the unauthorized checks payable to actual Crisis Ministries’ vendors.”

Then, Libby is accused of forging the name of the vendors, writing her bank account number on the back of the checks and then depositing them in ATM’s into accounts, “over which Libby had control.” The affidavit says the alleged embezzling took place from 2006 to June 2013, just a week before Libby was arrested.

Officials with the shelter said the operation went unnoticed for so long because Libby allegedly funds too small to be noticed.

“Each transaction, each distribution was fairly small, which made it less noticeable,” Stacey Denaux said. “That was part of the scheme and the fraud that was committed.”

The Chairman of the shelter’s board said there were checks and balances put in place to keep this situation from happening.  Libby, however, is accused of knowing the system so well, she was able to hide what she was doing.

“The way she handled these transactions, it was masked in terms of the vendors names were the same as actual vendors so her level of sophistication was very high,” Phil Kohlheim said.

Libby is facing five wire fraud charges for transmitting money from the homeless shelter’s bank account into her own Wells Fargo account, affidavits show. Those five transfers total more than $5,000.

“We are diligently pursuing all reasonable avenues to recover the stolen funds,” Boineau said. “To date, we have recovered $102,000 through an insurance policy and restitution paid by Libby.”

Libby’s attorney, Bill Runyon, said these charges were expected.

“The process for her family and friends and for her has been of course excruciating, but we are going to get through the matter,” Runyon said.

He wouldn’t provide any information as to why Libby allegedly embezzled the money, but he did say they disagree with the figure outlined in the documents. Runyon would not comment any further.

There is no word on what type of sentence Libby could face if she is convicted. She worked with Crisis Ministries for ten years.

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