CAVA’s Carrie Whalen ordered to repay stolen funds

WATERTOWN, NY (August 25, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest and conviction of the former Executive Director of the St. Lawrence County chapter of the Citizens Against Violent Acts (CAVA) for using her official position to steal more than $20,000 from the organization.

Carrie Whalen, 46, of Colton, was arraigned before Canton Village Court Justice Michael C. Crowe and pleaded guilty to Petit Larceny. Whalen agreed to repay $20,475.85, and resigned from her position as the CAVA Executive Director. Whalen was sentenced to a conditional discharge and agreed to repay an additional $5,025 in excess travel reimbursements that she received.

“This non-profit was used as a piggy bank for personal gain,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Organizations like CAVA provide an invaluable service to the community, and this individual took advantage of her position and the public’s trust.”

According to court records, CAVA is a not-for-profit victims’ advocacy group based in Canton. CAVA receives donations from private citizens as well as state grants. Some of the sources of the organization’s grant money are the New York State Crime Victims Board, the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the New York State Department of Health, the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services, the United Way, and the St. Lawrence County Youth Bureau.

Court records indicate that during the period from March 2007 to December 2008, Whalen used more than $8,500 of CAVA money to make personal purchases including hotel rooms, clothing, and restaurant meals. Whalen also took nearly $6,000 in CAVA money to purchase horse equipment for personal use. She also took an additional $6,000 more in salary than a state grant allowed.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Watertown Regional Office Deanna Nelson under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Richard Ernst of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau. The case was investigated by New York State Police Investigative Sergeant Brian Langtry.