(Mankato, MN) – Criminal charges have been filed against a Mankato couple for stealing from Mending Spirits Animal Rescue, the charity which they founded.
Tamara and Darren Sherer, who served as board president and treasurer respectively, are each facing four felony counts of theft. They’re due to make their initial court appearances on May 3rd.
According to the complaint, Mankato police were contacted last September by two board members for Mending Spirits, after an audit showed substantial missing funds. Police had Eide Bailly complete an independent audit of the charities finances. It was determined that the Sherers spent more than $42,000 on items for their own personal use between January 2014 and February 2016.
That included over $1,000 for Taylor Swift concert tickets, along with payments made to various restaurants, retail stores, hotels and ATM cash withdrawals.
The stolen money was raised through adoption fees, donations, bake sales and other fundraisers.
The Sherers resigned from Mending Spirits in February of 2016. Several months later, Mending Spirits filed a civil suit against the couple, claiming they misused, misspent and misappropriated tens of thousands of dollars. The lawsuit alleged that there were hundreds of purchases for groceries, gas, restaurants and even adult sex toys.
The Sherers filed for bankruptcy last year and under that filing, they did reach an undisclosed financial settlement with the non-profit to address the civil suit.
Mending Spirits isn’t the only animal focused charity to be hit with this type of situation.
In December, Molly Harvey of Le Sueur was sentenced to 30 days of community service and seven years probation for stealing from the Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society, where she worked as the shelter manager. Harvey was also ordered to pay more than $17,000 in restitution.
And in Faribault, the former director of the S.A.F.E. Sanctuary pet rescue is accused of using thousands of dollars from the organization for her own personal expenses. The case against Patricia Caron is still making its way through the courts.
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