LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Officers with the Lufkin Police Department arrested a 37-year-old woman Thursday in connection to allegations that she stole a total of $82,867.09 when she worked at the Gipson Funeral Home.
Kelly Nabors Shelton, of Lufkin, was booked into the Angelia County Jail on a felony theft between $30,000 and $150,000 charge Thursday. She was released from the jail later that day after she posted an undisclosed bail amount.
According to the arrest affidavit, an investigator with SCI Management met with a Lufkin PD officer on Aug. 25 to report a theft/fraud incident involving Shelton. SCI Management owns and operates many funeral homes, including the Gipson Funeral Home located at 1515 S. Chestnut in Lufkin.
The investigator told the LPD officer that he was notified of a potential internal theft by Shelton, who had been working as the Lufkin funeral home's office manager.
The investigator told the LPD officer that he learned Shelton had stolen a total of $86,867.09 in cash and fraudulent charges from the funeral home over the course of a two-year period from Nov. 1, 2014 to June 22, 2016, the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, the investigator turned over four binders full of evidence and witness statements, and the Lufkin PD officer interviewed Shelton about the alleged theft.
The SCI Management investigator said that he reviewed 1,472 invoices that were entered by Shelton.
"[The investigator] found several incidents where Shelton changed the billing codes to cover personal use of her employee-authorized purchase card," the affidavit stated. "During an interview with [the investigator], the defendant gave a written statement that she had used her company purchase card for personal use."
The Gipson Funeral Home purchase card was used to by multiple items from Amazon.com in the amount of $6,018.36, and the items were either shipped to Shelton's home or the business, the affidavit stated. An additional $6411.78 was allegedly charged to the funeral home account for purchases at Lowe's, Home Depot, Target, Sam's Club, Mary Kay, and USA Volleyball.
"The defendant was found to make payments to First National Collection Bureau for a personal debt, pay for daughter's volleyball memberships, purchase swimwear, makeup and shower gel, custom-made shirts, trailer hitches for family truck, and a smoke fog machine and a DJ strobe light," the affidavit stated.
Shelton also admitted to issuing "same-day checks" for petty cash on the funeral home's checking account, the affidavit stated. The investigator told the Lufkin PD officer that the unauthorized checks with Shelton's signature totaled $16,648.93, the affidavit stated.
"Three other 'same-day checks totaling $1,567.47 were found to be written as payments to family members set as 'vendor set ups' at Gipson Funeral Home," the affidavit stated.
Shelton allegedly admitted to giving her sister-in-law a $950 check for a personal debt. Another check for $372.47 was written to Lufkin First Assembly as a vendor for "camp," the affidavit stated.
The investigation revealed that Shelton authorized another $50,611.53 in unexplained charges on the funeral home's open Brookshire Brothers account, the affidavit stated. Of that amount, $46,151.96 went to gift card purchases, and Shelton allegedly admitted that amount included purchases of gift cards and groceries for her personal use.
The affidavit stated that during the interview with the Lufkin PD officer, Shelton could not remember all the unauthorized transactions she had made.
Although Shelton's supervisor at the funeral home approved all of the charges, he said in a statement to police that Shelton had deceived him by coding all of the unauthorized transactions as legitimate expenses.