Former nonprofit leaders escape prosecution with secret deal

The former directors of a Florida Keys nonprofit accused of stealing $60,000 while running the agency won’t face criminal prosecution after all.

David Smith and Susana Carrick, 56, former leaders of Rural Health Network who share a home on Big Pine Key, were jailed May 26, 2016, after their board of directors reported them to the State Attorney’s Office for theft.

The board asked prosecutors to drop the case, which they did April 28.

“There was as settlement,” said John Miller, chairman of the board, who said he couldn’t disclose details. “I can say there was some restitution.”

Prosecutors would not comment on the reasons behind the dismissal or how Rural Health Network is handling the situation.

Between April 4 and May 16, the two received direct deposit payments that totaled $35,429 for Smith and $27,996 for Carrick, according to an affidavit filed in May 2016 in Monroe County court.

“They misrepresented that the board approved it, hoping it would go undiscovered,” said Chris Weber, chief investigator for the State Attorney’s Office.

In early March, Smith told the board of directors he had accrued several hours of unused vacation time but no figures were discussed and no votes taken, prosecutors said.

Smith suggested some of the BP oil spill disaster funds Rural Health Network had received be used to buy back those hours, according to the affidavit.

On March 23, Smith told the nonprofit’s financial officers the board had approved paying him for 504 hours of paid time off and Carrick for 482 hours she had racked up, the affidavit states.

No such approval was ever made, prosecutors say, and it would have been impossible because the nonprofit’s policy limits paid time off benefits to 190 hours.

The pair could have applied for up to 190 hours of stored paid time off under the employer’s rules, Weber said, but instead they took it all without permission.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen