Former Head Of Wyoming Comm. Center Accused Of Stealing $2 Mil.
The former executive director of the Young at Heart Community Center in Rock Springs has been arrested for allegedly embezzling over $2 million dollars from the center's daycare facility.
That's according to a Tuesday news release from the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office. According to the release, a months-long investigation found that Candace Rachelle Morris stole $2.3 million from the facility during her time as executive director of Young At Heart. That period ran from 2016 until earlier this year.
The money was allegedly stolen from daycare tuition funds and federal COVID-related grants. It was deposited into a personal bank account registered to a fake shell corporation, The Early Learning Center LLC. Investigators say she used the money to pay for large home improvements, luxury cars, jewelry, and international vacations.
In late June of this year, Morris suddenly resigned from the Sweetwater County School District #2 Board of Trustees. A few days later, on Friday, July 1, 2022, she was fired for cause by Young at Heart. On July 6 the community center filed a formal complaint against Morris in Third District Court, launching separate criminal and civil investigations, according to the release.
The sheriff's office says she was arrested this morning [Sept. 13] without incident. at last report, she was being held without bond at the Sweetwater County Detention Center on multiple counts of felony theft, attempted theft, and forgery. If convicted on all counts and sentenced to consecutive [as opposed to concurrent] prison terms, she could face up to 50 years in prison, according to the release.
The release quotes lead investigator on the case, Detective Sergeant Michelle Hall as saying, "This is a complicated case that required a painstaking, line-item analysis of years of detailed financial data. It was critically important that we didn't rush to judgment, that we really took our time, and exercised our due diligence in order present prosecutors with the strongest criminal case possible."