A former city employee stands accused of allegedly stealing roughly $93,000 from the city of Gainesville, Florida.
Where did it go? Well, let’s just say that of some of Natwaina Clark’s 177 fake purchases include SunPass, PayPal, and cosmetic surgery.
In short? Florida taxpayers got stuck with the bill to Ms. Clark’s lavish spending habits which included a Brazilian butt lift. Hey, we wouldn’t want Gainesville city staff specialists walking around with saggy booties, now would we?
An investigative report released Wednesday shows a former city of Gainesville employee, accused of stealing more than $93,000 from the city, spent some of it on a Brazilian butt lift.
The report found that former city staff specialist Natwaina Clark, 33, charged her city-issued credit card 136 times for roughly $61,000 in unauthorized charges, used her bosses’ cards at least 36 more times for an additional $31,000, and spent nearly $900 on a coworker’s card five times between November 2015 and March 2017.
The report also finds department heads acted negligently, allowing city funds to be misspent.
Documents attached to the report show Clark, who was hired in August 2015, funneled roughly $41,000 to her personal PayPal account, linked to her bank account, and that $8,500 of it went toward a Brazilian butt lift. The cosmetic surgery procedure uses fat from one part of the body to augment one’s buttocks.
PayPal transactions were itemized as “decor,” “storage bins,” and “holiday banners.”
Purchases also show Clark paid $2,413 to Cox Communications, spent $1,011 at CVS, $739 at Sam’s Club for mostly food items, $680 to her personal SunPass account and bought a “large” TV.
Clark, whose salary was $33,500, was fired from the city March 21, while on a cruise-ship vacation, the report said. She was arrested March 28 and charged with larceny and scheme to defraud, both felonies.
The auditor’s report paints Clark as an intelligent worker who was eager to help, and who could legitimately have earned promotions had she not made illegitimate purchases even during her new-employee probation.
The report said Clark explained her “likely noticeable condition of living beyond her means” by telling coworkers she had a boyfriend who “bought her things.” In one instance, Clark sent an “Edible Arrangements” bouquet to her office, telling coworkers they were from the generous boyfriend.
The bouquet later turned up as a $123.16 expense on her city-issued Visa card.
City spokesman Bob Woods said he could not comment on the report’s specifics, but said the ordeal overshadowed the good work of hundreds of other city employees.
“It’s just unfortunate,” he said.
Yes, it sure is. It is also unfortunate that the city’s human resources department knew of her past legal troubles, but hired her anyway as well as gave her access to city funds.
More from Gainesville.com:
Woods, the spokesman, said he couldn’t specify what disciplinary actions might be taken, but said City Manager Anthony Lyons is considering options.
Clark’s legal troubles began before she was hired at the city — and the city’s human resources department knew that when hiring her, documents show.
Following her March arrest, The Sun obtained documents showing Clark was arrested for similar charges in Leon County on an outstanding warrant in Orange County.
According to notes in an Orlando Police Department investigation obtained by Holt, Clark used her human resources position at Hughes Supply to illegally obtain other employees’ banking and personal information and sold the data to a third party.
She was charged with seven felonies — five counts of fraudulent use of personal identification, scheming to defraud and burglary of a structure. The charges were later dismissed after Clark pleaded no contest with adjudication withheld and served probation.
The very fact that she got hired by the city in the first place is a real puzzler. Must have been one of those “slipped through the cracks” situations.Follow us on Facebook here and on Twitter here.
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