CASPER, Wyo. — The former executive director of the Young at Heart Senior Center in Rock Springs was arrested by sheriff’s deputies Tuesday, Sept. 13 after a months-long investigation into embezzlement spanning back to 2016, according to a Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office release.
Candace Rachelle Morris is accused of moving nearly $2.3 million in daycare tuition fees and federal COVID-related grant funds into a fake shell corporation account to pay for personal expenses including large home improvements, luxury cars, jewelry and international vacations, investigators said in the release.
In late June this year, Morris suddenly tendered her resignation from the Sweetwater County School District #2 Board of Trustees, citing personal reasons, according to the release. Days later, Morris was terminated for cause from Young at Heart.
On July 6, Young at Heart filed a formal complaint in the Third District Court against Morris, initiating separate civil and criminal investigations.
“This is a complicated case that required a painstaking, line-item analysis of years of detailed financial data,” said lead investigator Detective Sergeant Michelle Hall in the release.
“It was critically important that we didn’t rush to judgment, that we really took our time and exercised our due diligence in order to present prosecutors with the strongest criminal case possible.”
Hall added that Morris was the sole focus of the investigation and thanked the staff at Young at Heart “in helping us to follow the money trail in this case.”
“I hope this case and today’s arrest allows their staff to move forward as a valued organization in this community,” Hall said.
Morris faces multiple counts of felony theft, attempted theft, and forgery. If convicted and sentenced to consecutive terms, she could face up to 50 years in state prison.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in accordance with law.