Former American Red Cross Employee Accused of Fraud
On Thursday morning the Gainesville Police Department filed charges against Casey Marie Schmelz.
She was employed at the American Red Cross North Central Florida chapter for five years and investigators said she's been scamming the organization since 2011.
Twenty-nine- year- old Casey Marie Schmelz is accused of helping herself to more than $200,000 from the non-profit she represented in public, the American Red Cross.
"When the American Red Cross responds to a disaster area, if a family is in needs of funds for clothing or whatever it may be they offer them sort of like a debit card to assist with these things they are in need of," said Detective Chris Kind with the Gainesville Police Department.
King said Schmelz used another employee's username and password to add funds to debit cards that are given to disaster relief victims.
"So she was making a duplicate case and then she was assigning fraudulent names making a card with that case file and then taking a card for her own benefit," said King.
Schmelz allegedly used the debit cards to withdraw cash from atm's around Gainevsille.
Surveillance video, transaction history and schmelz's own statements gave King enough evidence to charge her with grand theft and scheme to defraud.
I stopped by the American Red Cross office in Gainesville to speak with a representative, but no one would comment on camera. Instead the American Red Cross is releasing this statement.
"We are aware that charges have been filed by the Gainesville Police Department against a former employee of the North Central Florida chapter of the American Red Cross. The information in this matter was developed through a detailed examination of our disaster services operation. That information was turned over to law enforcement officials in Gainesville, Florida and they began an investigation into the matter. The Red Cross will cooperate fully with their investigation and while it is in progress we are unable to comment on the matter. Any further questions about this matter should be directed to the Gainesville Police Department."
The American Red Cross terminated schmelz on August 30, 2013.
"When the truth came out she really hurt a lot of people who she worked with. They are a small group there. Those who have been employed with the American Red Cross and it was like a family there. For her to do that to her family it really was tragic," said King.
The State Attorney's office will determine if they will now prosecute Schmelz.
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