Former longtime City of Ardmore utility billing supervisor Carmen Moore, charged with embezzling more than $65,870 from the city, appeared in district court Wednesday for sentencing.
District Judge Dennis Morris ordered her to serve an 8 year deferred sentence, including 90 days in the Carter County Detention Center beginning at 8 a.m. Dec. 27. In addition, Moore was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service at 10 hours per week. The judge also placed her under District Attorney supervised probation until she has completed the court ordered community service. Prior to her court appearance, Moore paid the city full restitution and forfeited her retirement benefits, which yielded $117,000 worth of credits for retirement obligations for the city to other city employees.
The sentence came after Morris listened to testimony in the case in which District Attorney Craig Ladd sought a 5 year prison sentence, with all but 1 year suspended. Ladd said Moore's pastor, as well as two former co-workers, also ex-employees of the city, petitioned the judge to not sentence her to jail time. The courtroom was filled with supporters for the woman who had worked for the city for 34 years. Also in attendance was Ardmore Mayor Bob Geurin, Vice Mayor Sheryl Ellis and City Manager J.D. Spohn.
Following the sentencing, Geurin said, "When I was elected, I took an oath to be a good steward of the taxpayers money and protect the well being of the citizens of Ardmore. That's what took place today."
Rumors concerning financial discrepancies in the City of Ardmore Water Department surfaced Feb. 7. At the time, City Manager J.D. Spohn told The Ardmoreite in a press release " ... once the city received information of a nature that it determined warranted an inquiry into the financial operations of a department of the city, it promptly retained the services of Crawford & Associates, a certified public accounting firm specializing in the financial operations of municipal governments, to conduct a full and detailed special review of at least one department." Spohn's press release also said, "The city felt it appropriate to bring in a totally independent firm so that the public could be fully assured as to the integrity of the inquiry."
Moore was placed on leave immediately and officially terminated Feb. 15.
The results of the full audit led to an Ardmore Police Department criminal investigation, which began in April. But because of the statute of limitations, auditors and criminal investigators were only able to examine city records for the past seven years. Ladd filed the formal charge against Moore in June.