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State audit examines theft at Mo. Veterans Commission

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – A former accountant for the Missouri Veterans Commission is accused in a state audit of embezzling more than $90,000 to cover personal credit card bills.

State Auditor Susan Montee says Stacy Griffin-Lowery also ran up more than $17,000 worth of charges on state-issued credit cards.

"Our issue here is that obviously there was not supervisory review, and there were some ways to have prevented this from happening or found it in a more expedient way," Montee said.

Griffin-Lowery was initially charged with felony forgery, but in 2008 pled guilty to misdemeanor theft as part of a plea deal and repaid the $17,000 in state-issued card charges. The missing $90,000 was found in the audit released today.

Montee suggests a civil lawsuit to recover the money, since Griffin-Lowery has already been convicted. She also worked for the State Auditor's office before joining the Missouri Veterans Commission.

Larry Kay is the commission's Executive Director.

"We literally didn't have the systems in place, they were not put in place to detect this kind of fraud...since that time we have made sure, again working closely with the Auditor's office, to make sure we have the proper systems in place to detect anything like this in the future," Kay said.