A now-former employee of the city of Gainesville is facing felony fraud charges after an investigation uncovered instances of her allegedly spending city funds on, among other things, buttock augmentation surgery.
Initially described as a competent employee who was always eager to help, Natwaina Clark was fired on March 21 and arrested seven days later for allegedly spending around $93,000 of city money for the purchase of personal items.
According to investigators, the 33-year-old Clark spent $61,000 from her own city-issued credit card, $31,000 from her supervisor’s card, and almost $900 from coworkers’ cards between November 2015 and her termination. They say she also directed $41,000 into an online payment account, of which $8,500 was spent on a Brazilian butt lift, which is a form of cosmetic surgery involving the relocation of fat from one part of a patient’s body and inserting it into the buttocks.
Investigators say she sent over $2,000 to a local cable company, spent around $1,000 at a prominent drug store chain, $800 at a warehouse club store, and $700 to her electronic toll collection account.
In addition to alleging improper spending by Clark, investigators also chided the heads of her department for failing to notice the spending and for not having in place proper review procedures that would have likely made such spending evident long before it was finally discovered by outside parties. They were also taken to task for the alleged ease that Clark was able to access their city-issued cards without their knowledge.
Investigators allege that this was not Clark’s first time to commit such improprieties, pointing out that she was charged with seven felonies for similar acts at a private firm prior to her employment with the city. They say that the city’s human resources department knew of the charges (which eventually led to a no-contest plea by Clark and a sentence of probation), noting that they failed to conduct a proper background screening and did not make the hiring department aware of Clark’s past.
Clark pled no contest to larceny and scheming to defraud in March. A report upon the investigation into her alleged conduct was given to the Gainesville City Commission last Thursday.