April 26, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today announced he has filed suit against a former Missouri Veterans Commission accountant for stealing funds from the commission. The lawsuit seeks to recover the stolen funds, which total more than $90,000.
Koster said that between April 2005 and March 2008, Stacy Griffin-Lowery worked as an Accountant II at the Missouri Veterans Commission. Her duties included requesting money from the State Treasurer's Office to pay vendors for goods and services provided to the commission. Koster said an audit conducted by the Missouri Auditor Susan Montee's office found that between June 2006 and January 2008, Griffin-Lowery had submitted requests for payments totaling $90,191.55 to UMB Card Center. She then directed UMB to apply the payments to a personal credit card account at UMB.
"This employee was entrusted to oversee funds appropriated for the well-being and welfare of Missouri veterans," Koster said. "That she would be so disloyal to her agency and to the brave and patriotic men and women it serves is simply astonishing.
"I commend Auditor Montee for her office's excellent work on identifying these funds that should be returned to the state," Koster added.
The Department of Public Safety had requested that the Attorney General's office look into the matter to determine whether the Attorney General had the legal authority to act in the case.
"I appreciate the prompt review of this important matter by the Attorney General's Office and Attorney General Koster's swift action," said Missouri Department of Public Safety Director John M. Britt. "Missouri taxpayers must be protected and we cannot tolerate any action that might compromise the benefits our dedicated veterans are entitled to. I look forward to this issue being resolved in court."
Koster said he is asking the court to order Griffin-Lowery and her husband, Daniel Lowery, to repay the state the money she misappropriated; to pay attorney fees, court costs, and post-judgment interest; and to assess any further damages that the court finds fair and reasonable.