Gainesville woman embezzles more than $ 40,000 from non-profit animal rescue


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – A woman is behind bars after hijacking a local nonprofit.

Cassie Wheeler was arrested after Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputies said she defrauded Haile’s Angels Pet Rescue of approximately $ 41,319.84.

The rescue manager has been charged with robbery, false entries in the books of a business entity and fraud scheme.

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The arrest report says Wheeler began rescue in 2015 as a kennel employee and was promoted to rescue manager during the year. In her new role, the 36-year-old had access to debit and credit cards, a PayPal account, and QuickBooks.

After the organization hired an independent company to review its QuickBooks, it realized there were some discrepancies. Around this time, Wheeler met with a board member and admitted to taking $ 21,502.94, claiming that she was trying to “make ends meet” and take care of her two teenage children after getting married. separated from her husband in the summer of 2019.

An analysis of fraudulent charges revealed a balance of over $ 41,000 – charges that occurred from November 2019 to November 2020.

Wheeler admitted to investigators that she modified Quickbooks to cover her expenses, used PayPal to transfer funds to her personal account, used the company’s credit and debit cards for personal use, and took about $ 21,000 off. the organization of the rescue of pets – all in one or two years duration.

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She told MPs that she had sent emails to the board admitting what she had done and that she planned to “fix” the situation. She never followed.

Wheeler has been accused of this once before. In 2010, she was charged and later convicted of robbery. The court forced Wheeler to pay restitution – $ 10,000 to Farmers Insurance and $ 32,000 to a shipping company.

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