It appeared that Stacey-Griffin Lowery was going to get away with most of the money she allegedly embezzled from the Missouri Veterans Commission. But Attorney General Chris Koster has now decided to take Griffin-Lowery back to court.
Griffin-Lowery already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in 2008 and paid back the $17,000 she was then known to have stolen from the Missouri Veterans Commission when she was an accountant there. The problem is, after more investigation, the state auditor later found Griffin-Lowery allegedly stole an additional $90,000.
“We have filed a civil lawsuit in an attempt to find the $90,000 that had been overlooked earlier in the criminal lawsuit. So the criminal door essentially has been closed but there is still an opportunity through the civil courts to recover the 90 grand,” Koster said.
Attorney General Koster says worked with the Department of Public Safety in pursuing the case. If he hadn’t, Griffin-Lowery very well could have walked with the $90,000. At the announcement of the State Auditor’s findings earlier this month, the Director of the Missouri Veteran’s Commission said he was simply going to try to get the money back through a state bond
Koster thinks they have a strong case.
“We believe that the state auditor’s accounting work in this regard is correct and that Stacey Griffin-Lowery and her husband owe the Missouri Veteran’s Commission approximately $90,000 and we intend to collect it,” Koster said.
Meantime, Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson says he originally agreed to plead Griffin-Lowery’s criminal case down to a misdemeanor charge, when she could have faced a felony, because she had an otherwise clean record and was able to pay back what she was known to have stolen at the time. Griffin Lowery actually worked for the State Auditor’s office for six years before moving to the veteran’s commission in 2002.
Koster says cases like these could take four to eight months, but he’s also going to try to negotiate with Griffin-Lowery’s attorneys soon to try to expedite the process.
Regardless of the outcome, Griffen-Lowery won’t have anything on her criminal record aside from the misdemeanor she pled guilty to in 2008. Koster says he is asking the court to have Griffin-Lowery and her husband pay attorney fees, court costs and post-judgment interest on top of the $90,000.
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