Fayetteville State University employee misused credit card for $692,000

Fayetteville, North Carolina — Fayetteville State University employee is under investigation for unapproved purchases and misuse of a university-issued credit card.

Fayetteville State University Office of Strategic Communications (OSC) staff used FSU-issued travel and shopping cards to make undocumented and unauthorized credit card purchases in the amount of Total $692,239.

The misused amount of $692,239 includes:

  • Purchased the card for $575,123, which is not allowed under university policy
  • Purchased travel cards for $84,469, which is not allowed under university policy
  • Purchased P and T cards without adequate documentation for $322,743

A total of $692,239 was generated from the three items listed above, excluding $290,096 worth of purchases that were not permitted by University policy and did not have sufficient documentation.

Additionally, more than $165,000 in college funds was disbursed to employee-owned businesses. The investigation revealed that employees failed to disclose the businesses in which they had a financial interest.

The audit report stated that illegal payments were made between January 1, 2022, and August 31, 2023. Assistant Vice Chancellor for Creative Services. The report did not reveal the identities of those employees.

Joy Cook serves as vice president for strategic communications during this time, according to a university news release announcing the hire. Morgan Osley Pratt served as director of digital strategy during that time, according to university documents. Tina Raines was appointed assistant vice chancellor for marketing and creative services in November 2022.

Cook was named communications director for the North Carolina House Democratic Caucus this month. Amanda Eubanks, executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, said in a statement that she had resigned from the position. Cook and Raines did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment late Tuesday. Efforts to contact Pratt were unsuccessful.

The vice chancellor and director of digital strategy used travel cards to pay consultants nearly $72,000, the audit reported. An investigation revealed the pair spent more than $1,000 to arrive early and fly first class to a conference in New York City. Investigation revealed they spent hundreds of dollars at the spa on the first day of the conference.

Additionally, the report states that the digital strategy director spent hundreds of dollars to purchase a plane ticket for her young son to accompany her to Orlando, Florida.

According to the report, OSC's former vice chancellor, former director of digital strategy, and assistant vice chancellor for marketing and creative services spent a total of more than $322,000 on unlicensed purchases.

Florida State University submitted a statement to the state comptroller's office, calling the findings “shocking and disturbing” and noting that it acted “quickly and decisively” to address the issues.

FSU agreed to hire internal auditors and conduct campus-wide training on how to use shopping and travel cards.

The State Bureau of Investigation will receive a copy of the audit to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to file criminal charges.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that total travel and shopping card spending exceeded $1 million. The report has been modified to show that the listed expenditure amounts were included in the total of $692,239.

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