The Shelby County Sheriff's Office has concluded a three month investigation into allegations of illegal activity against the Shelby County Humane Society. The Sheriff's Office received several complaints regarding allegations of missing funds and therefore opened an active investigation.
The three month investigation has concluded with indictments being handed down by the Shelby County Grand Jury on October 4th, 2012 against Mike Lescowitch, President of the Humane Society and Angela Bray, Treasurer of the Humane Society. Lescowitch was indicted for one count of theft in office, a felony of the 4th degree and Bray with one count of theft, a felony of the 5th degree.
The Shelby County Humane Society, which was operating as a 501C3 nonprofit organization had failed to file the proper documentation to continue its nonprofit status and were continuing to use a 501C3 status for three years without authorization to do so. They continued to make purchases for personal purposes under the 501C3 status thereby avoiding the paying of sales tax. These purchases they made were not for the humane society and were for their own personal gain.
The investigation revealed that humane society funds were used for the towing of Bray's personal wave runners, tires for her personal vehicle, personal cell phone bills, Wii games and various other purchases that were not for the humane society. It was also found that Wal-Mart gift cards were purchased with humane society funds and were later used to purchase groceries, cigarettes, tampons and other items for personal use. There were also several instances of misuse of the humane society credit cards.
The humane society's record keeping was almost nonexistent and willfully negligent. There was cash spent without any explanation of what the money was used for or spent on. During the course of the investigation, investigators found that donations were made to the Humane Society without those funds being reported, recorded, or deposited into a Humane Society account.
At this time it is estimated that a total of $18,485.92 was misappropriated, used for personal purposes or questionable purchases not associated with the humane society. The issue of the 501C3 status will be turned over to the I.R.S for further investigation. It is believed at this time that there is $649.46 owed to the State for sales tax that was not paid on purchases not associated with Humane Society purchases.
Additionally all assets associated with the Humane Society's two accounts in the amount of $19,107.00 have been frozen due to a Court order issued through Shelby County Common Pleas Court.
I would like to thank the citizens who called in and reported their concerns. This investigation was exhaustive and time consuming, and I would like to commend the investigators for their dedication and thoroughness on this investigation.