Julianne Westberry, the notorious cat hoarder, cat abuser and con woman, has been charged with felony fraud for missing funds. This is an update on the Julianne Westberry case, as reported by Anderson Independent Mail News on October 22. See previous Westberry posts (opens a new window).
Julianne may only face one charge of animal cruelty and one charge of animal torture for the 57 or more dead cats and 32 live cats removed from her Belton, South Carolina home back in June, but the misuse of funds has finally caught up with her. South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) conducted an investigation after Belton Police Chief Tommy Clamp says he received calls from all over the U.S., as well as the U.K.
Julianne is a former volunteer with the Anderson County Humane Society. ACHS director Wanda Crane told Anderson Independent Mail that Julainne operated a rescue called J’s Kitten Cottage that wasn’t connected in any way with the Society. Wanda stated
“It has come to our attention that Julianne has represented to other parties that she and her rescue are connected with our organization. This is not correct. Any funds that were sent to Julianne or her rescue were never redirected to our organization.”
According to the Anderson County arrest warrant, Julianne’s PayPal account shows she received $21,505 during a yearlong period that ended in June. Money that people paid as pledges to help Julianne provide foster homes, food and medical treatment and set up adoptions for cats. Around $11,300 was debited by Julianne for personal use, instead of being used to help the kitties.
It’s unclear what name Julianne used on the PayPal account, but she’s definitely in trouble. She was arrested and charged with a felony of what I would assume is considered fraud, since funds meant for the cats were used for personal gain. Julianne was taken to Anderson County Detention Center, where she has been released on a personal recognizance bond. No information is available as to when Julianne will go to court on the original animal cruelty charge, or on the new felony charges.
Regardless of the outcome of this case, cats on the euthanasia lists in upstate South Carolina and lower North Carolina continue to pay the ultimate price. Those who used to donate, or “pledge,” to save shelter cats are now reluctant to part with their money. There’s no way to predict when the distrust of the shelter rescue system will end, thanks to Julianne.