$7 Million Fraud is Biggest Local Heist in WA State History
It's likely the FBI will get involved, according to news sources.
Pierce County Housing Authority officials, and Washington State Auditor Pat McCarthy say it's the largest amount ever embezzled by a local government official in state history.
Cova Campbell, the former finance director for the Pierce County Housing Authority, allegedly funneled just over $6.948 million dollars to herself from public funds supposed to be used to help provide affordable housing for those in the county.
According to KOMO-TV news, Campbell first began making fraudulent purchases using the Authority's credit cards back in 2016. At least 78 purchases occurred. She then began to funnel funds to herself using batched payments sent to legitimate vendors. She substituted her own bank account number in Oklahoma inside the the batches, so they would look legal unless carefully examined.
She used some of the money to buy property in Oklahoma with her husband and for other purposes. Campbell reportedly admitted the misdoings, but claimed the Executive Director of the authority had directed her to do so, and provide him some of the cash. Officials say no evidence of any wrongdoing has been uncovered against the Director.
She was let go in August after a routine audit discovered discrepancies that were then examined by the State Auditor's office.
The case has been referred to the federal U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as the FBI.
Officials say it's the largest example of embezzlement ever conducted by a local or county official in Washington state history.