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Gainesville woman embezzles more than $40,000 from non-profit pet rescue

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 3:55 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - A woman is behind bars after embezzling from a local non-profit.

Cassie Wheeler was arrested after Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies say she defrauded Haile’s Angels Pet Rescue of approximately $41,319.84.

The Rescue Director was charged with grand theft, false entries into books of a business entity, and scheme to defraud.

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The arrest report states that Wheeler started at the rescue in 2015 as a kennel worker and was promoted to Rescue Director within the year. In her new position, the 36-year-old had access to debit and credit cards, PayPal account and QuickBooks.

After the organization hired an independent firm to look at their QuickBooks, they realized there were some discrepancies. Around this time, Wheeler met with a member of the board and admitted to taking $21, 502.94, saying she was trying to “make ends meet” and take care of her two teenage children after she separated from her husband in the summer of 2019.

An analysis of the fraudulent charges revealed a balance of more than $41,000 - charges occurring from November 2019 to November 2020.

Wheeler admitted to investigators that she altered Quickbooks to cover up her spending, used PayPal to transfer funds into her personal account, utilized the company’s credit and debit cards for personal use and taking approximately $21,000 from the pet rescue organization - all within a one or two year span.

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She told deputies that she sent emails to the Board of Directors admitting to what she did and that she planned to “fix” the situation. She never followed through.

Wheeler has been accused of this once before. In 2010 she was charged and later found guilty of grand larceny. The court forced Wheeler to pay restitution - $10,000 to Farmers Insurance and $32,000 to a shipping company.

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