Former Gramercy officer accused of misusing credit card

A former Gramercy patrol officer is facing felony theft charges after police officials and the town auditor said she charged personal purchases, amounting to about $7,500, to a town-issued credit card, according to an audit.

The newly released financial audit for Gramercy’s 2012-13 fiscal year, which ended June 30, brought to light the former officer’s alleged misuse of the Fueltrac credit card.

Evangeline Taylor, 45, 10128 La. 44, Convent, was arrested Nov. 5 with counts of malfeasance in office and felony theft, said Maj. Sid Berthelot, who heads the St. James Parish Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division, on Wednesday.

She was later charged by prosecutors in St. James Parish with felony theft.

Her next court date is set for 9 a.m. March 24, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Online sheriff’s records show Taylor was not in St. James Parish Jail in Convent on Wednesday.

The audit, which was made public Monday, does not identify the officer, but the credit card misuse that Taylor is accused of committing shows up as one of two findings auditors raised in the audit.

Both the credit card finding and another involve what is known as “internal controls,” which are generally procedures designed to catch accounting mistakes and even possible fraud.

“Although there were controls in place, certain other procedures that could help to mitigate this weakness were not being performed,” the auditors with the Postlethwaite and Netterville accounting firm said of the credit card transactions.

Police Chief Brent Dicharry said this week that one of his clerks who monitors his department’s expenses on the Fueltrac cards noticed something that did not look correct in 2012.

He said he and the clerk pulled time sheets and began an investigation into the expenses.

He said Taylor, who had been with the department between five and 10 years, immediately resigned.

Dicharry said the Sheriff’s Office was notified and later made the arrest. The audit said Gramercy officials are seeking restitution, though the amount charged to the card has not been determined.

The auditors recommended the town improve its internal controls.

In the town’s response to the audit, officials said they agreed and have made changes.

Among them, the audit says, are lowering credit card limits, new email notifications sent to town management if the card limit is reached and GPS systems budgeted for police cars.

“We’re doing a lot closer monitoring,” Dicharry said.

He said his department typically has six full-time officers and two part-time officers, though he is d own one officer.

Overall, the town ended the fiscal year by spending less than it collected in revenue for its $1.86 million general fund. The town added $428,380 to the general fund surplus for a total surplus of $3.18 million, the audit says.