Sadly, this is another example of a senior manager of a non-profit animal shelter stealing money from the shelter to fund personal expenditure and in this instance it was to buy diamond earrings, chocolate-covered strawberries and other items for his girlfriend.
The convicted man is Franklin Sabolcik. He was (I presume that he has been sacked) vice president of the White Oak Animal Safe Haven in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA.
After his initial conviction for theft and unlawfully taking and receiving stolen property, he argued that there should have been a mistrial. The superior court rejected his argument and upheld the conviction. He was sentenced to 11.5 to 23 months in prison (not sure why it is not a fixed term).
The thefts were discovered by Ina Jean Marton (see below), the founder of the no-kill shelter, in January 2014. There were financial irregularities. In addition she found an unauthorised bank account for the shelter. The only person with access to it was Sabolcik.
In addition to the items mentioned above which he bought with the money he also bought tickets to an arena football game, meals at restaurants and bars and tickets to a motocross show and a ski resort.
His girlfriend was a shelter volunteer and he also bought ski equipment and window blinds for her house with the stolen money. In addition, he bought health insurance.
Elisa recently wrote about a shelter director in Carteret County, North Carolina who stole more than $67,000 and used the money on 2,200 expense purchases.
I wonder whether there is an oversight problem at shelters. Perhaps not because these appear to be quite rare but if the accounts are regularly checked than this sort of fraudulent activity would be noticed quickly.
There is an interesting twist to the story. In 2012, an online newspaper, Pen Live, reported that Franklin Sabolcik was the manager of the shelter at that time and that he resigned because the founder of the shelter had four dogs euthanised. He felt that it was unethical behavior as the shelter was and is no-kill.
His behavior at that time indicates that he has a decent character and was a decent shelter manager. It would seem he fell out with the founder, became disillusioned and decided to steal the money. Obviously there is no excuse for stealing money given in good faith by animal advocates to save the lives of cats and dogs. I suppose you can be an animal advocate and concerned about animal welfare and still be a thief! The trouble is his thieving would have taken money away from animal welfare.
I don’t have a picture of Franklin.