Ex-child advocate Anna Naukam, spouse face charges

ANN KELLEY and NOLAN CLAY Modified: August 21, 2009 at 6:22 am •  Published: August 21, 2009
The former director of a state association that helps abused and neglected children admitted misusing funds there for years, saying, "I was very good at cooking the books,” a state audit shows.

Anna M. Naukam and her husband are accused in a criminal case of embezzling $461,586. A state grand jury alleges they embezzled to finance a lavish lifestyle for themselves with taxpayer and donated funds intended to help children.

Naukam, 51, was the Oklahoma CASA Association executive director for about 10 years until being fired in October.

Her husband, Eugene M. Naukam III, 64, worked there for a time as a special projects coordinator. They live in Edmond.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Volunteers speak out for children in family courts.

Grand jurors allege the Naukams misused association credit cards to pay for such things as vacations in Mexico, cosmetic breast surgery, Texas Tech football tickets, Victoria’s Secret lingerie, a Playboy magazine subscription, dental expenses, their son’s college tuition at the University of Oklahoma, vet bills, health club memberships and home remodeling work.

A hot tub for their home cost $2,703, according to the state audit. Granite counter tops cost $6,004. The plastic surgery cost $8,100. The grand jury alleged they made 55 purchases totaling $6,384 on the association credit card at Victoria’s Secret.

"I had no fear,” Anna Naukam told auditors, according to the state audit.

The state grand jury indicted the couple Tuesday. The criminal charge was made public Thursday.

Anna Naukam faces one conspiracy count and 148 embezzlement counts. Her husband faces one conspiracy count and 41 embezzlement counts.

Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputies on Thursday led them in handcuffs from a courtroom. Their attorney handed over their passports to a prosecutor.

The investigation is ongoing, and they could face additional charges later over other stolen funds, Attorney General Drew Edmondson said. He called the Naukams very greedy and selfish people.

"We ... hope at some point we’ll be able to recover some of that money for the children of the state,” Edmondson said.

"We have access to the bank accounts, and it does not appear in the bank accounts that there is anything to recover. Read the Oklahoma attorney general's press release



What is CASA?


• CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.


• Oklahoma CASA Association provides support to 26 smaller nonprofit CASA programs across the state.


• The organization was founded in Oklahoma in 1984. CASA volunteers provide support for children in the court system and give input into their cases.


• In 2008, there were 1,500 CASA volunteers assigned to about 3,500 children.



AUDIT FINDINGS

Among the items cited in a state audit as being bought with CASA funds:


• Cozumel, Mexico, vacation: $1,963


• 2005 after-

Christmas shopping spree: $2,568


• Pet boarding and veterinarian bills: $3,595


• New Mexico vacation, including art purchases: $4,247


• Breast augmentation: $8,100


• Home improvements: $14,429


• Texas Tech Alumni Association dues, football tickets, memorabilia and trips to Lubbock, Texas: $14,016

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