An Arizona national park supervisor stole park entrance fees for six years, making more than $300,000 before getting caught, according to an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report released Monday.
Supervisory Visitor Use Assistant Sharon Baldwin stole about $316,000 from visitors to Petrified Forest National Park from 2010 to 2016. She continued the scam and avoided detection by “altering electronic records and documentation to conceal the theft,” according to the Department of Justice.
Baldwin also used her role as a supervisor to keep other park employees ignorant. Park staff who assisted Baldwin manage park funds were never formally trained how to process funds under the National Park Service (NPS) process. Instead, staff relied on Baldwin to teach them how, according to the OIG report.
“It was definitely a shock to learn of her actions, but she no longer works here,” Park Superintendent Brad Traver told the Phoenix New Times. “The public has a high standard of trust for public employees, and when that trust is broken, it’s difficult for all of us. I want to assure the public and visitors that appropriate disciplinary action is being taken in this case.”
Baldwin plead guilty to the scam last year. She was sentenced to one year in prison and ordered to pay back all of the money she stole to the Department of the Interior, which oversees the NPS.
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