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Former Canadian County CASA executive director accused of embezzlement

CANADIAN COUNTY– A Yukon woman is accused of stealing from some of Oklahoma’s vulnerable children.

The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office say the executive director of the county’s CASA program took off with more than $70,000.

CASA is an organization that advocates for abused and neglected children caught in the court system.

Traci Owens, 45 was appointed in 2010 to run the local chapter, but resigned in 2013 after coming under fire for not showing up to work.

“All in all we’re talking about 70-72 thousand dollars that were misused,” said Undersheriff Chris West, Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.

The former executive director was one year into the job, but in that short time she is accused of giving herself bonuses and issuing extra payroll checks in her name.

The money she’s accused of taking were donations meant to help the children.

“These actions bankrupted the CASA program in Canadian County there is no CASA program in Canadian County right now,” said West.

West said the new director knew something was not right after going through financial documents and statements.

Detectives spent five months looking into the case and last week issued a search and arrest warrant for Owens.

NewsChannel 4 stopped by Owens’ home for answers after she posted a $50,000 bond Monday night. No one came to the door.

A spokesperson with the Oklahoma CASA Association said they cannot comment because of the ongoing investigation, but did release a statement saying, “The local Canadian County CASA program and its’ board of directors have oversight of the program’s finances and responsibility for ensuring that the organization abides by its own financial policies and procedures.”

If convicted on the 72 counts of embezzlement, Owens could face up to 10 years in prison.