Woman accused of embezzling over $3K from CASA of Southern Oklahoma
A former employee of CASA of Southern Oklahoma is being accused of embezzling over $3,000 from the organization.
Ardmore Police Department Capt. Claude Henry said officers began investigating the alleged embezzlement after meeting with the director of CASA of Southern Oklahoma in Oct. 2020. The organization exists to promote court-appointed advocacy for local children who have been abused or neglected.
Through investigation, police reportedly found that 42-year-old Kristi Paige, of Madill, had embezzled approximately $3,800 from the organization between May 2019 and Feb. 2020. Henry said the former employee allegedly used CASA’s Security Bank Card to make purchases for her own personal gain.
“That included renting several cars during that time that totaled around $1,100,” Henry said. “There were also fuel charges for personal trips that she took, those charges totaled to about $276.”
Paige is also believed to have embezzled donations made to the organization. In Dec. 2019, CASA of Southern Oklahoma received a $1,000 donation through its website, and Paige allegedly diverted $980 of the donation to her personal PayPal account.
“There were also about 21 charges that totaled $1,300 where she stated that she was making purchases for the needs of children and it is alleged that those charges were not for any children or any open cases that CASA of Southern Oklahoma had at the time,” Henry said. “She used that money for herself.”
After taking the initial report in October, investigators reportedly attempted to set up an interview with Paige. However, she allegedly claimed she was in quarantine and would not be available for an interview until December.
“We have tried since then to contact her multiple times and she refuses to answer the phone or call our investigators back for an interview,” Henry said. “Because of that we sent the charges to the district attorney’s office for consideration of embezzlement charges.”
The district attorney’s office filed a felony charge for embezzlement against Paige last week, and she is scheduled to make an initial appearance in court on Feb. 11.
If found guilty, Paige could face up to two years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 and restitution for the amount embezzled.
“It’s just an unfortunate case,” Henry said. “CASA of Southern Oklahoma tries to help as many kids as they possibly can and it’s just unfortunate that an employee is selfish to take away from children who are in need and who could’ve really used these funds at the time that they were taken away from them.”