Former CASA Director, Husband Indicted on 152 Counts
Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The former director of Court Appointed Special Advocates, also known as CASA, and her husband have been indicted on 152 counts, including embezzlement and conspiracy.
The indictment was unsealed in an Oklahoma County courtroom Thursday.
Anna Naukam spent 10 years helping abused and neglected children before being fired last October. Eugene Naukum, Anna's husband, was employed as a special projects coordinator.
"This is a sad day for Oklahoma and CASA is a very good program and shouldn't overshadow and put on that rope," said Oklahoma State Auditor Steve Burrage.
Anna and Eugene Naukum were forced to surrender their passports and are restricted to stay within the state of Oklahoma.
According to the indictment, the auditors showed the Naukums had more than $650,000 funds dedicated to children used by the former director and her husband to live a lavish lifestyle.
Money also went to trips and health club memberships, among hundreds of other items.
Thousands of dollars were spent on lingerie, Texas Tech University football tickets and varsity clothing, vet bills, plastic surgery, car repairs, groceries, movie rentals, and playboy subscriptions, the indictment states.
"The saddest, most reprehensible part of the allegations unsealed here today is that money that could have been used to help abused and neglected children all over the state has been misspent, stolen, embezzled and squandered by two, we allege, very greedy, selfish people," said Attorney General Drew Edmondson.
He said investigators are trying to determine if any of the money can be recovered.
"It does not appear in the bank accounts that there is anything to recover," Edmondson said. "We'll continue to determine whether or not there may be property that can be seized or other avenues to recover money to recoup this loss."
Anna Naukam became the executive director of CASA in 2000, and she and her husband filed for bankruptcy a year later, according to a special audit of the agency.
Prior to the bankruptcy, Anna Naukam obtained a credit card under the agency's name for her and her husband, even though he was not an employee of the association, the audit shows. Between 2002 and 2008, they allegedly charged hundreds of thousands of dollar on the cards, and Edmondson said Anna Naukam paid the bills electronically to keep the board from finding out.
Edmondson said the couple also used CASA money to pay more than $8,000 in late fees, over limit fees and finance charges.
"They weren't even good financial stewards of the money they stole," he said.
Naukam was fired in October after the auditor's office was asked to investigate possible financial irregularities. Auditors said she circumvented an independent bookkeeper by falsifying records and that she dismissed the agency's independent auditor "when he began asking too many questions during an annual audit."
Sheryl Marseilles, CASA's interim director, said the agency has brought in a team of lawyers and financial experts to overhaul its financial policies and internal controls.
"I hope that they recognize the damage that they've done, because the only thing that come to my mind, right now I wouldn't scream, I think I'm more floored by it all," Marseilles said.
The CASA interim Director said the group has been on an emotional rollercoaster since the allegations surfaced but they're ready to move forward.
"I think it's shocking and disappointing and upsetting but we're ready to move past all this and focus our attention 100 percent on our mission which is abused and neglected children," Marseilles said.
The nonprofit agency, which receives state and federal funding along with contributions, oversees 26 separate nonprofit programs in the state that recruit and train volunteers to serve as special advocates for abused and neglected children involved in the court system.
The couples' next court date is set for October 15 at 9:00 a.m.
Anna Naukum's bond is set at $100,000. Eugene Naukum's bond is set at $45,000. Both were handcuffed and taken into custody.
More on News9.com: CASA's Director Questioned About Funds