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September 5, 2009 permalink

Funds appropriated by the state of Oklahoma for abused and neglected children paid for dental care, college tuition, health club memberships football tickets and vacations in Mexico. But not for foster children. The money went to the family of executive director of the Oklahoma CASA Association, and embezzler, Anna M Naukam. Unloved foster teens might have appreciated the cosmetic breast surgery, Victoria’s Secret lingerie or Playboy magazine subscriptions.



Embezzler Anna M. Naukam shows no remorse

former child advocate ordered to pay restitution and serve 15-year sentence

BY NOLAN CLAY and ANN KELLEY, Published: September 5, 2009

An embezzler pleaded guilty Friday, but she never said in court she was sorry for stealing funds meant to help abused and neglected children.

Anna M. Naukam, former executive director of the Oklahoma CASA Association, instead talked about herself when the judge pressed her to show remorse.

Anna M Naukam

"It’s cost me,” she said, standing before the judge in handcuffs and orange jail clothes. "It’s been a very difficult thing to live with. I’m ready for it to be over.”

She was ordered to spend 15 years in prison, 20 years on probation and pay $549,024 in restitution. That punishment was the outcome of a plea agreement between her, her attorney and the prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Joel-lyn McCormick.

CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. Volunteers speak out for children in family courts.

"There’s a lack of morality there. ... I’ve never seen her show any remorse,” McCormick said after the sentencing.

The judge also required her to pay $7,000 in fines and $6,705 to the state Crime Victims Compensation Fund.

"You brought this on yourself,” Oklahoma County District Judge Kenneth Watson said.

The state multicounty grand jury indicted Naukam, 51, and her husband, Eugene M. Naukam III, 64, in August. They lived in Edmond.

She has been in jail since Aug. 20.

Grand jurors alleged the Naukams misused CASA credit cards to pay for their everyday expenses and such things as vacations in Mexico, cosmetic breast surgery, Texas Tech University football tickets, Victoria’s Secret lingerie, a Playboy magazine subscription, dental expenses, their son’s college tuition at the University of Oklahoma, veterinarian bills, health club memberships and home remodeling.

Anna Naukam pleaded guilty to one conspiracy count and 148 embezzlement counts from the indictment. She was the executive director of the taxpayer-supported private association for almost 10 years before being fired in October.

Eugene Naukam, who was a special projects coordinator at CASA for a time, still faces one conspiracy count and 41 embezzlement counts. He is free on bail and was not in court Friday.

The judge asked Anna Naukam if she had any money now to pay toward the restitution.

"No, your honor,” Anna Naukam said.

Prosecutors earlier said there is no money in the couple’s bank accounts.

Anna Naukam said, after her release, she wants to work teaching the directors of different organizations how to look at their financial records "so they’re not taken advantage of by somebody like me.” During the investigation of her wrongdoing, she told state auditors, "I was very good at cooking the books.”

She must pay part of any income made after her release toward her restitution and can be sent back to prison if she refuses while on probation.

She told the judge she is bipolar and also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She said if she had known of her mental condition years ago she could have gotten medication and counseling and "my life would be different right now.”

"I’m not using this as an excuse, but I think it definitely had something to do with it,” she said.

As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said they will not file additional charges against her. State Auditor and Inspector Steve Burrage has said the audit revealed the couple actually misspent more than $650,000.

"I don’t think the punishment is harsh enough,” said Jennifer Borsch of Oklahoma City, a CASA supporter who came to the sentencing. "She stole from children and gave a black eye to an organization that does nothing but good. She should be behind bars a lot longer.”

Source: News OK