The North Wilkesboro Police Department charged a former employee of Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission with nine counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, announced Interim Police Chief Rob Thornburg on July 16.
Thornburg said Nora Lynn Andrews, 43, of State Road, is charged with using a credit card from BROC’s senior nutrition program to obtain various items totaling $37,082 in expenditures while she was employed by BROC.
Andrews hadn’t been served with warrants charging her by press time Tuesday, but Thornburg she was expected to turn herself in Wednesday.
North Wilkesboro Officer Rocky Whitley reported that he went to BROC’s office on Veterans Drive, North Wilkesboro, on June 14 at the request of BROC Executive Director Dare Stromer.
Whitley said in written report that Stromer and Jennifer Cooper, BROC Senior Nutrition Services director, told him then that a BROC employee used a BROC credit card to buy personal items. He said Cooper estimated that the employee made about $20,000 in unauthorized credit card purchases, mostly on VISA gift cards bought at Speedway convenience stores.
Whitley said he was asked to be present the next day when Stromer and Cooper questioned the employee, identified as Andrews in his report, and terminated her employment with BROC.
Whitley stated that he was told Andrews was occasionally allowed to use a BROC credit card to purchase items for various BROC locations in Wilkes and other counties served by the agency.
Whitley said in his report that BROC officials realized there was a problem when Cooper noticed an odd credit card charge on a bank statement. He said this led to Cooper determining that money had been spent at businesses BROC doesn’t use for normal operations, including for the gift cards.
Stromer sent an email to the Wilkes Journal-Patriot Tuesday stating, “In light of Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission Inc. being in recent news, we would like to take the time to make this statement. It has been determined that a former employee with BROC Senior Nutrition Services obtained property by false pretense. The North Wilkesboro Police Department has been investigating the incident.
“BROC has had an impeccable reputation in the service areas of Alleghany, Ashe, and Wilkes counties since it began in 1966. BROC Senior Nutrition Services is a program in Wilkes County only
“It is very upsetting that something like what happened can put a negative light on the entire agency after all of the good that BROC programs accomplish. We would like to assure all stakeholders and the communities that BROC has developed a Correction Action Plan, and the fiscal policies and procedures have been enhanced to ensure that a situation such as this does not ever occur again.”
The email indicated that the statement was from Stromer and the
BROC Board of Directors
BROC is a 501 c(3) non-profit established in 1966 as a community action agency. It administers state and federal grant-funded programs that address poverty in Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany counties. BROC also receives funds from local governments in these counties, Wilkes United Way and other sources.