CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla - Detectives from The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Economic Crimes Unit arrested a former North Port Chamber of Commerce employee Tuesday.
Lisa Lee Rowe of Sarasota is facing felony Grand Theft and Scheme to Defraud charges. Rowe was employed by the North Port Chamber of Commerce from June 15, 2007 through January 2010. Detectives said Rowe wrote 29 payroll checks to herself and deposited a total of $22,860 into her personal Charlotte State Bank checking account.
The Chamber provided copies of canceled checks written on the BB&T account of the North Port Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber received information from an independent auditor of possible discrepancies involving unauthorized payrolls checks made payable to Rowe. Detectives worked with North Port Police Department detectives in obtaining information for the investigation. Detectives subpoenaed Rowe’s bank records that included her payroll deposit slips.
Rowe was administrative assistant, office coordinator and bookkeeper; she was responsible for creating, issuing and dispersing payroll checks but not authorized to sign checks. A former NPCC manager told detectives Rowe created payroll checks through QuickBooks; the manager would sign and authorize all checks. The manager did not sign or authorized the illegal payroll checks signed by Rowe.