An employee of the city of Gainesville, Florida allegedly used city-issued credit cards to make $93,000 worth of “bogus purchases,” including an $8,500 Brazilian butt lift, according to the Gainesville Sun. An investigative report issued Wednesday reportedly found 33-year-old Natwaina Clark made 177 illegitimate purchases, often funneling money directly into her personal PayPal account. The report also found fault with department heads and human resources who were negligent in screening her background and ultimately enabling her to embezzle city funds.
Clark was hired as a city staff specialist in August, 2015. The auditor’s report described her as an intelligent and enthusiastic employee who could have easily rose through the ranks of city government and been promoted legitimately. However, human resources failed to notify her bosses that Clark had previously been charged with five counts of fraudulent use of personal identification, scheming to defraud, and burglary of a structure, when she worked for Hughes Supply in Orlando. The charges against her were later dismissed when Clark pleaded no contest with adjudication withheld and served probation.
Clark allegedly began embezzling money from the City of Gainesville almost immediately. She allegedly used her city-issued credit card 136 times for approximately $61,000 in unauthorized charges, and ran up an additional $31,000 on the cards of two of her bosses in the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, also know as PRCA. It fact, it wasn’t until the PRCA department was found to have overspent that authorities began asking questions.
Auditors allegedly found Clark's bosses negligent of monitoring her expenses, reportedly going so far as to call Cultural Affairs manager Russ Etling an "enabler of theft." Clark was out of town on a cruise-ship vacation when she was fired from the city on March 21. Upon returning to Gainesville she was arrested and charged with felony counts of larceny and scheme to defraud. She has plead not guilty.
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