RALEIGH — The former finance director and accounting technician for the Town of Spring Lake has been sentenced to two consecutive 24-month prison terms for embezzling over half a million from the town between 2016 and 2021.
The sentencing for Gay Cameron Tucker, age 64, was handed down on Dec. 14 by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle.
“Public corruption at any level is a crime that affects all of us and undermines our public institutions,” U.S. Attorney Michael Easley said in a statement. “This defendant abused her position of trust by using public funds intended for her local community to pay her own personal expenses. Our office will continue to partner with law enforcement to investigate and prosecute allegations of public corruption.”
Tucker was indicted in May on one count of embezzlement from a local government receiving federal funds, four counts of bank fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The charges carried a sentence of 12 years in prison.
In June, Tucker pled guilty to the embezzlement charge and one count of aggravated identity theft.
An audit published in March 2022 by the N.C. State Auditor’s Office found $430,000 in taxpayer funds were spent for personal use by Tucker.
The audit revealed Tucker had written 72 checks for personal use from town funds. The checks including 32 payable to Bragg Mutual Federal Credit Union (Bragg Mutual) totaling $166,082. The checks were deposited into her personal bank account at that same credit union.
Additionally, 27 checks totaling $151,015 were written as payable to directly to Tucker. Another 13 checks totaling $113,015 were written to “Heritage Place Senior Living” and were used to pay her husband’s monthly resident bills.
The Town of Spring Lake has been in financial trouble for years and the N.C. Local Government Commission (LGC) voted unanimously to take over the finances of Spring Lake in October 2021.