There could be some questionable spending with corporate credit cards by some employees at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick. NBC-4 says it looked through dozens of receipts provided by two employees, and found some personal purchases made with corporate credit cards.
News-4 spoke with Todd Fox, who had been an employee at Mount Olivet for 17 years. He told the I-Team that he found a pile of receipts in the break room which turned out to be for purchases at the Home Depot store in Hagerstown. “And I was ‘why we would drive to Hagerstown to buy something when there’s two Home Depots in Frederick?’ It didn’t make any sense to me,” he said.
The I-Team also spoke with Shane Study, a former sales manager at Mount Olivet. He recounted the story of another employee who asked him to help install a fence. “We showed up to his house, we got into his truck, went to Home Depot, rang up of $300 to $400 worth of fence material and he used the tax exempt credit card from the cemetery,” Study told News-4.
Mount Olivet Cemetery is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization. Anyone whose issued a corporate credit card can make purchases on behalf of the cemetery, and not have to pay the sales tax.
News-4’s I-Team also spoke with Bruce Dubinsky, Managing Director of Duff and Phelps, and a nationally known expert on financial fraud. He told the station that non-profits can end up on a “slippery slope” if employees use their corporate credit cards for personal purchases. “If you take a credit card that was issued in the corporate, not-for-profit name, and go out and use that in conjunction with the tax-exempt status, and buy something personally, that’s a problem. That violating both the state rules on the tax exemption, and the rules on using that corporate credit card for corporate purposes,” he told the I-Team. Dubinsky also told New-4 that the cemetery’s board of directors needs to investigate these incidents of misuse of the corporate credit card and take action. If it doesn’t, the IRS could revoke the cemetery’s tax-exempt status.
Study also told News-4 that a pile of receipts from 2014 showed that purchases were made for “29 gauge” “rib roofing panels” in the color red. He was asked if there was a red roof on any of the buildings at Mount Olivet Cemetery. “No, and I was there when they were installed at Rick’s House,” he replied to News-4. Rick is the cemetery’s Assistant Superintendent Rick Reeder.
In another incident, News 4’s I-Team found about a purchase made with the cemetery’s credit cards from a Lowe’s in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Fox was asked what is near that Lowe’s in Frederickburg. “Lake Anna,” he replied. Fox was then asked what is at Lake Anna. “Superintendent’s lake house,” Fox answered. The superintendent is Ron Pearcey.
News-4 says it reached out to Mount Olivet about these questionable purchases, and the cemetery’s board president, Colleen Remsburg, hung up the phone.
The board’s attorney, Dan Loftus, issued a statement saying the board takes these allegations seriously. “These allegations were investigated and addressed last Spring in 2015 by the Board of Directors,” he told News-4 in the statement. “After its investigation, the Board took prompt and appropriate action.”
Fox and Study told News 4’s I-Team they were fired, but Pearcey and Reeder are still with the cemetery.
“I want people to know what’s going on there. And I think they’re running it into the ground,” Study told News 4.