A former University of Georgia employee stole more than $1.3 million from the school’s Greek Life Office over 10 years before committing suicide on campus in June, an internal investigation revealed.
Authorities determined Lasina Evans, an administrative associate who worked in the Greek Life Office since 2000, diverted university funds into personal accounts and made unauthorized withdrawals from 2009 through June 2019, according to documents obtained Saturday through an Open Records request.
University officials were alerted to the missing funds in late June by Eric Atkinson, UGA’s associate vice president for student affairs.
“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 investigation also revealed that Claudia Shamp, the former director of Greek Life at UGA, “did not provide any form of financial oversight for GLO financial activities.”
Shamp has since retired from the university, UGA spokesman Gregory Trevor told AJC.com. Elizabeth Pittard, assistant director for the Greek Life Office, also resigned from her position as a result of the investigation, he said.
In an internal memo detailing their findings, university officials wrote that Shamp and Pittard “failed to provide proper oversight,” which resulted in “an environment that allowed for the misappropriation of funds without being detected for an extended period.”
Evans committed suicide on campus June 20 after the executive director for Miracle contacted Shamp to ask why their account was missing so much money, according to a UGA police report.
The report says Shamp then reached out to Evans about the need to review bank statements and get online access to the accounts.
It was the last conversation they ever had.
After Evans’ death, UGA police set out to determine if any of the money could be recovered, according to the report. While going through the woman’s records, it was determined 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.
The Georgia Lottery only keeps records of payouts larger than $600, but the police investigation revealed that since 2009, Evans made 51 claims totaling more than $102,000 in winnings, according to the police report.
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.
The internal investigation revealed Evans acted alone, and police said no charges are expected.