PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A former employee with the American Cancer Society has been arrested on charges of embezzling money from the organization.
According to the Pender County Sheriff's Office, Wendy Perdue, from Hampstead, opened a personal account in Nov. of 2012 under the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life name, which the ACS never authorized.
Authorities say Perdue withdrew money from the ACS checking accounting for personal use, totaling $68,000. She is also accused of making donation deposits and withdrawals into and out of that account.
According to the Pender County Sheriff's Office, Perdue wrote checks to herself for both $15,000 and $5,000 from the account. She also reportedly wrote a check for $8,120 for Wilmington Plastic Surgery from the account.
Deputies say debit transactions from the account went to a Disney Resort, Radio City Music Hall, the House of Blues, a tanning salon, a nail salon among numerous other charges.
"We are embarrassed and devastated," said Wanda Bass, publicity chair for Relay for Life of New Hanover County. "We work so hard to raise money to find a cure and to provide services for our cancer survivors. As volunteers, our commitment and dedication remains strong. We hope this does not have a negative impact on our ability to provide these services."
Perdue has been arrested under a $60,000 secured bond. She is being charged with 10 counts of embezzlement from the ACS.
Her first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Jennifer MacNeish, the event chair for the 2013 Relay for Life in New Hanover County released the following statement in regards to the charges against Perdue:
This deeply saddens us that donor dollars have been stolen. These dollars were the direct result of community donations for cancer survivors and services in our area. We hope and pray that the actions of Ms. Perdue in no way reflect on the future of New Hanover County Relay for Life.
WECT spoke with patrons attending a New Hanover County Relay for Life event at Zoe's Kitchen in Mayfaire.
"It breaks my heart that someone would steal from money going to cancer research," says Tommy McKeough, a restaurant patron. "If I were to ever commit a serious amount of money, I would be skeptical and really have to research where these funds are actually going."