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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
We
’ll continue to determine whether or not there may be property that can be seized.”

State Auditor and Inspector Steve Burrage said the audit revealed the couple actually misspent more than $650,000. He said they admitted to his auditors that they misused CASA credit cards and faked travel claims.

Burrage said it is a classic example of what can happen when an association does not have proper internal controls and checks and balances.

What audit found
Anna Naukam went to great lengths to hide her spending sprees, the state audit reveals. Among the findings:


• She doctored financial statements, created bogus invoices and forged board members’ signatures on checks.


• She created legitimate-looking invoices for items such as Dell computers and advertising to get money from CASA to make large credit card payments.


• When CASA funds got low, she obtained bank loans ranging from $65,000 to $75,000 to use as "float money.” She gave bankers bogus board meeting minutes showing she had board members’ permission to get loans in CASA’s name.


• When an independent auditor began to question the agency’s finances, she dismissed him, the state audit shows.


• There is even suspicion that the Naukams in March 2008 staged a burglary at CASA’s office and vandalized the organization’s financial records shortly before a routine annual audit.

What’s being said
Both the attorney general and state auditor called on the public to continue to support CASA workers.

"She (Naukam) was a pleasant person and seemed to have children and the organization in her heart,” said Sheila Baker, president of CASA’s 12-member board.

"We all thought she was genuine.”

She said Anna Naukam’s attitude drastically changed when board members started looking more closely at the agency’s finances and asking pointed questions.

"It was like night and day,” Baker said.

The Naukams married in 1993 and have a history of financial problems. They filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and got permission to pay off their debts over 60 months. Grand jurors alleged the embezzlement began in 2002.

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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