MSP investigating alleged embezzlement at Saginaw County animal shelter

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SAGINAW (WJRT) (12/7/2018) - Michigan State Police have launched an embezzlement investigation into the Saginaw County Animal Care and Control Center amid allegations of missing money.

Five months after former director Lisa Stoffel resigned after she lied about her academic credentials, there are concerns about a lot of missing money.

The Michigan State Police investigation started several weeks ago.

"We were requested by the Saginaw County prosecuting attorney's office to look into an investigation of some potential fraud or embezzlement involving the former Saginaw County animal control director," State Police Lt. David Kaiser.

Stoffel resigned in July following an ABC 12 investigation which showed she did not have the academic qualifications she claimed when she applied for the job in 2016.

The prosecutor's office has not commented on why they requested the investigation. Kaiser said there are claims about missing money.

"It's quite a large amount," he said.

Stoffel became the animal control director in 2016, but Kaiser said the financial probe will go back farther than that.

"It's going to be over a large period of time," he said. "That's why it's taken a little bit of time to do this investigation."

Questions have been raised about money collected at the shelter's Fur Ball fundraiser last May. An announcement after the event claimed $33,000 had been raised, but Saginaw County Controller Robert Belleman prepared documents showing net proceeds were only $14,000.

"Once we complete our entire investigation, we are then going to forward over to the prosecuting attorney's office for review for potential charges," Kaiser said.

Belleman said he did not request the investigation and declined to comment on the situation. Stoffel could not be reached for comment and the prosecutor's office deferred comment until Monday.