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Former animal shelter director sentenced to prison

Candace Christopherson (Carteret County Sheriff's Office photo)

BEAUFORT, Carteret County - A former animal shelter director in Carteret County was sentenced to prison as part of a plea agreement for her part in embezzlement of over $100,000 from the business.

Candace Christopherson was sentenced on Dec. 13 to between 60-84 months in the N.C. Department of Corrections as part of the plea deal. She was the director of the animal shelter from September 2005 until she resigned in September 2016. Officials said from January 2014 to July 2016, Christopherson used shelter credit cards for personal or unnecessary purchases of more than $67,000. Investigators also found more than $44,000 in cash generated by the shelter that wasn't deposited between January 2015 and September 2016.

An indictment against Christopherson was issued on June 5 and she turned herself in on June 9. She was ordered to pay back $111,849.88 in restitution.

"Ms. Christopherson has received a substantial active prison sentence as a result of her theft of funds from the animal shelter," District Attorney Scott Thomas said. "My office worked closely with Sheriff Buck's office and the State Auditor's office on this investigation and prosecution. It is unfortunate that these monies designated for the benefit of the Shelter were diverted for personal use.

"We take the theft of public funds and donations seriously and that is why we sought an active prison sentence based upon the investigative findings."

"I'd like to thank the State Auditor's Office and Detective Derek Moore for their work conducting the investigation and District Attorney Scott Thomas' Office for prosecuting this case and receiving a judgment adequate to reflect the seriousness of embezzlement of public funds," Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck said.

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