CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Federal charges have been filed against a former Crisis Ministries chief financial officer who allegedly used her position to steal nearly $500,000 from the charitable organization.
According to an affidavit, 55-year-old Carol Libby used her position as the chief financial officer at Crisis Ministries to embezzle $441,099 over a seven year period, stretching from 2006 to 2013. She was charged Tuesday with five counts of wire fraud.
Crisis Ministries officials say they discovered in June 2013 that Libby was stealing money from the organization, and reached out to authorities to investigate the extent of the theft. Libby was arrested on June 13 and charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent.
Court documents initially showed Libby embezzled $96,199.01 over an 18 month period, but an investigation into the embezzlement “revealed the extent of the theft is much greater than originally uncovered,” according to a statement released by Crisis Ministries.
An affidavit filed Tuesday with the District Court of the United States states Libby “fraudulently generated more than 400 unauthorized business checks from Crisis Ministries, and she made the unauthorized checks payable to actual Crisis Ministries’ vendors.” Libby allegedly forged the names of the vendors and wrote her bank account number on the back of the checks.
The affidavit states those checks were then deposited in Automated Teller Machines “by which the account information was transmitted by wire communication in interstate commerce, which caused the funds to be electronically deposited in bank accounts over which Libby had control.”
The five counts of wire fraud are for wire transmissions of $825, $1,100, $1,045, $1,255, and $1,275 deposited into Libby’s Wells Fargo account between March 5, 2009 and June 3, 2013, according to court records.
Crisis Ministries officials say they are working to recover the stolen funds, and have so far been able to recover $102,000 through an insurance policy and restitution paid by Libby.
The Crisis Ministries provides food and shelter to the homeless population in Charleston.