A special investigation of the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter in Oskaloosa documented some of the issues that led to charges against the former director.
State Auditor Mary Mosiman says the Mahaska County Auditor asked for the investigation after seeing an invoice from former director Lindsey Sime.
“There was a specific purchase for tires and the invoice for the tires had been altered — the county auditor first noticed this. The customer and vehicle information on the invoice had been changed from the director’s information to the shelter’s, ” Mosiman says. Mosiman says the investigation revealed more concerns.
She says they found a total of a little more than $5,000 of improper disbursement and a little more than $4,500 in undeposited funds from a Paypal account set up to take in donations. “Some of those donations were used for legitimate shelter operations, but some were used for personal benefit and some simply were not deposited to the shelter’s bank account,” Mosiman says. The State Auditor says it was obvious that some of the money was not used for the shelter.
“A little over $500 went to a clothing store, a little over $500 went to either Target or Walmart and there was about $200 or so that went to an online dating service,” Mosiman says. “Clearly these were expenditures that were not related to shelter operations.” Mosiman says they were only able to look at PayPal account records form December 3rd, 2014 through February 28, 2017, as other records were not available. Mosiman says the organization needed more oversight of the funds.
“Any dollar that’s supposed to be used for public benefit and instead is used for personal benefit is not allowable. In this report we do put recommendations in place to make sure the board of directors of the animal shelter have the necessary tools in place so that they can provide the necessary oversight,” Mosiman says.
Sime reached a plea agreement where she pleaded guilty to unauthorized use of credit card and third-degree theft. Sime was sentenced in October to a suspended two-year prison sentence and two years of unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to pay $8,600 in restitution, fines, and other costs.