Former Executive Director of Canadian County CASA Sentenced to Ten Months in Federal Prison

This serves as continuing indication that the DOJ-OIG is reviewing grants administered by the last Administration by the Department of Justice.  I expect to see an increase in these cases.  NGO’s receiving a DOJ grant whose funds originated from the victim witness restitution funds should consider performing a compliance assessment.  

U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Oklahoma

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, April 24, 2017

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – TRACI LORRE OWENS, 48, of Edmond, Oklahoma, was sentenced on Friday to ten months in federal prison and three years of supervised release for embezzling from a Canadian County charity for abused and neglected children, announced Mark A. Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

From November 2010 until July 2013, Owens was the Interim Executive Director and then the Executive Director of Canadian County Court Appointed Special Advocates (“CASA”), which received more than $10,000 in federal assistance annually from the United States Department of Justice. Based on this federal interest, a federal grand jury indicted Owens on July 22, 2015, for embezzling money from Canadian County CASA. According to the indictment, Owens created duplicate payroll checks for herself and also deposited checks payable to herself and to cash for reimbursement of unauthorized expenses. On August 5, 2016, Owens pled guilty to a superseding information that charged the same embezzlement offense.

On April 21, 2017, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange sentenced Owens to ten months in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, to be followed by three years of supervised release. The court found that Ms. Owens embezzled $55,143.93 and ordered restitution to Canadian County CASA in that amount. She also found that Owens abused the trust of Canadian County CASA, which lost its CASA certification in December 2013 because of Owens’s embezzlement. In mid-2014, Canadian County CASA was reconstituted as a certified CASA under the leadership of a new board of directors.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys K. McKenzie Anderson and Scott E. Williams.

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