Lasina Evans, an administrative assistant who worked in the Greek Life Organization (GLO) Office at the University of Georgia, is accused of taking $1.3 million dollars from the University of Georgia’s GLO accounts according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
“Interviews with GLO employees determined that Ms. Evans was a longtime trusted employee who had almost complete control over all financial activity at GLO, without any oversight or independent review of these activities,” an internal audit revealed.
University officials said Evans developed working relationships with employees at a Synovus bank and used those relationships to steal money from the school’s Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council and UGA Miracle, a student-run philanthropic organization. All three organizations have external business accounts with Synovus, according to the findings.
“The source of the missing funds includes checks written payable to Ms. Evans, unauthorized ATM withdrawals, unauthorized bank counter withdrawals, debit card purchases from unauthorized debit cards (and) debit card purchases for expenditures without an apparent valid business purchase,” officials wrote.
The alleged theft occurred between the years 2009-2019. The theft was unraveled when the Executive Director of one of the organizations that Evans stole money from, contacted Evans’ manager, Claudia Shamp, about their account “missing so much money.”
When Shamp confronted Evans with the accusations, Evans sadly committed suicide on campus on June 20, 2019. Evans’ boyfriend told officers he received a text shortly before her death saying she hated to leave him, but that she “made some bad decisions and isn’t strong enough to face the consequences,” police said.
Upon her passing, police and university officials conducted an intensive investigation to discover the nature of the theft and if any monies could be retrieved. The investigation revealed that Claudia Shamp, the former director of Greek Life at UGA, and Elizabeth Pittard, assistant director for the Greek Life Office, “did not provide any form of financial oversight for GLO financial activities” which resulted in “an environment that allowed for the misappropriation of funds without being detected for an extended period. ”Shamp has since retired from her position, and Pittard resigned.
While going through Evan’s financial records, officials discovered Evans had seven vehicles in her name, including a Mercedes she purchased for her boyfriend the month before her death. It was also revealed that Evans was an avid buyer of lottery tickets. Since 2009, Evans made 51 claims totaling more than $102,000 in winnings, according to the police report.
It says a lot when white folks trust you with the money. When white folks trust you, you don’t screw that up. I know we don’t like to admit it, but we as black people, carry the burden of the entire black race. Especially when we make it to positions that ordinarily exclude us. The Student Affairs department at the University of Georgia is lily white. For a person of color to be hired, and then entrusted with access to large sums of money, that represents progress. For a person of color to take advantage of that progress, that represents a setback for us, as a people. May Ms. Evans rest in peace and her family find comfort in these tragic events.