Dylan Scott is a GOVERNING staff writer.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Nebraska city administrator has been charged with felony theft for allegedly taking nearly $1,000 from a fund for senior citizen meals and spending it at Victoria Secret and a liquor store, among other places, the Omaha World-Herald reports.
Gretna City Administrator Colleen Lawry could spend up to five years in prison if convicted, according to the newspaper. The Sarpy County prosecutor's office alleges that Lawry set up a bank account for a $1,000 donation from the Knights of Columbus, intended to pay for meals for the city's senior citizens, and obtained a debit card for the account.
She then allegedly withdrew $980 to pay for purchases at Victoria's Secret, Wal-Mart and Gretna Wine and Spirits, according to the World-Herald. No money was spent on the intended meals.
Lawry was fired on Tuesday, the newspaper reports. The charges follow findings last week from a state auditor who had found accounting "irregularities" from Gretna officials.
According to the World-Herald, Lawry told police that she had mistakenly used the senior citizen account's debit card for personal purchases.
In a Governing review of public corruption convictions over the last decade, Nebraska ranked toward the bottom with only 1.5 convictions per 10,000 state and local government employees. The most corrupt states, by that scale, averaged 7 or more.
Clarification, May 4, 2012: The title of this article has been changed to better clarify who has been charged with felony theft. Thanks to commenter Curtis Youngman for the clarification.