Green River Star -

By Jason Mower
Sweetwater County Sheriffs Office Public Relations Officer 

Morris arrested

Former executive director of Rock Springs Young at Heart arrested on allegations of embezzlement of over $2 million

 

September 15, 2022

Photo courtesy of the Sweetwater County Sheriff's Office

Candace Rachelle Morris

The sheriff's office has announced the arrest of the former executive director of the Young at Heart Senior Center in Rock Springs for what investigators describe as the suspected embezzlement of over $2 million from Young at Heart's daycare facility, the Young at Heart Early Learning Center.

In late June of this year, Morris suddenly tendered her resignation from the Sweetwater County School District #2 Board of Trustees, citing "personal reasons." Days later, on Friday, July 1, 2022, Morris was terminated for cause from Young at Heart. On Wednesday, July 6, 2022, Young at Heart filed a formal complaint in the Third District Court against Morris, initiating separate civil and criminal investigations.

Through the course of the months-long criminal investigation, sheriff's detectives discovered that, from 2016 to present, during her tenure as Young at Heart's executive director, Morris is believed to have stolen nearly $2.3 million in daycare tuition fees and federal COVID-related grant funds, depositing the embezzled money into a personal bank account registered to a fake shell corporation unaffiliated with Young at Heart, The Early Learning Center LLC, and allegedly using the stolen money to pay for personal expenses including large home improvements, luxury cars, jewelry and international vacations.

Lead investigator on the case, Detective Sergeant Michelle Hall said, "This is a complicated case that required a painstaking, line-item analysis of years of detailed financial data. It was critically important that we didn't rush to judgment, that we really took our time, and exercised our due diligence in order present prosecutors with the strongest criminal case possible."

Hall added, "It quickly became clear that the sole focus of this investigation was Mrs. Morris, and I want to personally thank the dedicated staff at Young at Heart for their invaluable assistance in helping us to follow the money trail in this case. I hope this case and today's arrest allows their staff to move forward as valued organization in this community."

Sheriff's deputies and detectives arrested Morris this morning without incident, and as of press time, she remains held without bond at the Sweetwater County Detention Center facing multiple counts of felony theft, attempted theft, and forgery, and awaiting her initial appearance before a judge in court. If convicted and sentenced to consecutive terms, Morris could face up to 50 years in state prison.

The sheriff's office credits a cooperative effort among everyone involved with this investigation, and reminds the public that all people are presumed innocent until proven guilty in accordance with law.

 

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