Police: Gainesville Employee Spends $90K With City Credit Card

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Police searched a city of Gainesville employee’s home Wednesday morning after she was arrested Tuesday and charged with grand theft and scheming to defraud.

Natwaina Sharee Clark, 33, is facing felony charges after she allegedly used city credit cards to make personal purchases totaling at least $91,000 between November 2015 and March 2017. Gainesville Police Department spokesman Ben Tobias said that after police searched her home at Northwest 19th Avenue, it appears a large part of her purchases include consumer electronics.

Clark was given city credit card information after she was hired as an assistant at the Thomas Center for Gainesville Cultural Affairs Manager Russell Etling and Parks Manager John Weber in August 2015. She used credit cards issued to herself, Etling and Parks to make at least 169 purchases.

Police said a number of these charges were made away from the Thomas Center and while she was off-duty. Police also have video evidence of Clark making some of the fraudulent purchases.

Prior to the arrest, the city started a now ongoing internal investigation after noticing irregularities in purchases, said city spokesman Bob Woods. Etling and Weber realized some purchases put them over budget, and further investigation revealed that Clark was making unauthorized purchases with the cards.

Tobias said the department has a very long investigation ahead due to the amount of money involved, including gift card purchases that will have to be investigated by hand. He said that an early arrest was made due to an indication that Clark may flee.

Clark was hired on Aug. 3, 2015, as a staff specialist in the department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. She earned an annual salary of $33,564.34 and was officially terminated March 22.

Clark was released Wednesday on a bond of $20,000 according to the Alachua County Jail.

About Eric Heubusch

Eric Heubusch is a reporter at WUFT News in Gainesville, Florida. He is a senior at the University of Florida majoring in journalism.

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