HANFORD — Former Kings SPCA manager Darlene Laboc, 57, was arrested Friday on suspicion of grand theft and embezzling funds from the shelter.
The charges stem from purchases she allegedly made with a shelter debit card.
The Kings SPCA closed May 11 because of a lack of funding needed to operate the no-kill shelter according to shelter board members.
According to the Kings County Sheriff’s Office, deputies went to the Kings SPCA on April 28 for an embezzlement investigation.
Deputies said that they met with SPCA board members, who told them that the shelter manager, Laboc, was suspected of making unauthorized purchases during the past three years.
Deputies were provided with store receipts and bank statements that totaled $3,741.15 worth of unauthorized purchases.
The Kings County Sheriff's office said the Kings SPCA also fired Laboc after discovering the purchases.
On May 19, detectives went to Laboc’s residence and arrested her. During an interview, deputies said Laboc admitted to making some of the unauthorized purchases with the Kings SPCA’s debit card.
She was booked into Kings County Jail with bail set at $20,000.
Following Laboc’s arrest, the Kings SPCA Board of Directors made a post on the organization’s Facebook page with comments.
“As many of you are aware that Kings SPCA’s former Shelter Manger was arrested for embezzlement and grand theft,” the statement said. “Please note Kings SPCA will not be providing any information regarding the arrest or charges. Kings SPCA will only confirm she (Laboc) was terminated at the end of April.”
Earlier this month, the Kings SPCA announced it was closing to the public effective immediately with staff continuing to work to find the remaining animals homes.
Kari Martin-Higgins, the Kings SPCA’s president of the board of directors, told the Sentinel that the organization had slowly been losing money since moving from its former East Lacey Boulevard site in 2013 after the city bought the property as part of the Costco project. The center moved to a location on 16 ½ Avenue just off Grangeville Boulevard.
Martin-Higgins said income from donations and adoptions wasn't offsetting the approximately $17,000-a-month cost to keep the 10-acre site and its growing population of rescued animals going.
The 10-acre property was donated to Kings SPCA.
Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes said the incident is under review and that he couldn’t currently comment.
Deputies are continuing to work with the Kings SPCA board to determine if there are any additional unauthorized charges to its accounts.