Local News

Ex-NCCU administrators indicted on embezzlement charges

Posted September 6, 2012 3:16 p.m. EDT
Updated September 6, 2012 4:51 p.m. EDT

— Two former North Carolina Central University administrators were indicted Wednesday on charges of embezzlement – a year after a state audit found they allegedly used an unauthorized bank account to divert more than $1 million from a state program.

Nan Coleman, the former director of the university-based Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium, was indicted on five counts of embezzlement.

The program's former executive director, Beverly Washington Jones, was indicted on two counts of larceny and one count of embezzlement.

The June 2011 audit found that Coleman diverted money from the consortium to a private account between 2004 and 2009, including $287,000 for herself and $62,000 for Jones, who also served as provost.

Coleman was fired in August 2009, and Jones was removed as provost in April 2008.

N.C. Central served as the fiscal agent for the HMCUC, a state-mandated consortium that devised strategies to boost academic achievement by minority students, and it received more than $13 million in state funding and grants over the past decade.

In a statement Thursday afternoon, the university applauded the Office of the State Auditor and the State Bureau of Investigation for "conducting a thorough examination of HMCUC."

"NCCU takes seriously the matter of compliance and fiscal management and will continue to hold all personnel and departments accountable," the statement said. "The university is pleased that this matter has been fully investigated."

Coleman's attorney, Rhonda Young, did not have a comment Thursday afternoon, but Jones' attorney, Butch Williams said his client "looks forward to her day in court when all of the facts will truly come out."

According to the audit, Coleman said that she used the private account for easy access to pay for program expenses, but auditors noted that payments were made for such non-program items as car repairs, clothing and hotel rooms.

Jones told auditors that she received travel reimbursements from the private account but maintained that other checks were forged using her name, the audit states.

Auditors also noted that almost $600,000 was deposited into the private account between December 2008 and August 2009, after N.C. Central officials responded to complaints by cracking down on how the consortium was handling its payroll.