The man who once led the Charleston Animal Society is accused of stealing more than $70,000 from the organization.
State Law Enforcement Division agents arrested 56-year-old Charles Karesh on embezzlement charges Friday. He faces up to ten years in prison and fines if convicted.
Karesh resigned as both the acting executive director and chairman of the board of directors in December 2011. The Charleston Post & Courier reported at the time that KAresh’s resignation came after being questioned about $69,000 reported missing from the organization. Board members later said the money was returned, and no charges were brought at the time.
But a SLED affidavit says Karesh siphoned money from the organization from 2007 until 2011, writing “numerous” business checks that were made out to the Animal Society and cashing them at the shelter to get money. The checks would then come back to the Animal Society from the bank as “insufficient funds,” which would cause additional fees. The affidavit says an audit found the approximate total for returned checks and bank fees was more than $71,000.
The Animal Society gets public money to operate an animal shelter that cares for animals deposited by local law enforcement agencies.