Former Maritime Aquarium official being investigated for misappropriating funds

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk (Photo: NewEnglandBoating.com)

NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) — The former Chief Operating Officer of the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is accused of taking more than $78,000 from the nonprofit organization.

Roy Dowdell, the Aquarium’s Chief Operation Officer, was placed on administrative leave on October 27th. He later resigned from his position on November 3rd.

Maritime Aquarium officials announced Monday that a forensic accounting audit revealed $78,400 in missing funds. The audit was conducted by an external accounting firm, and determined that Dowdell allegedly misappropriated the funds through a mix of petty cash withdrawals and credit card transactions. Aquarium officials filed a police report Monday.

In addition to his responsibilities as Chief Operating Officer, Dowdell also served as Assistant Treasurer. Officials at the aquarium tell News 8 they are investigating Dowdell’s employment history to figure out how long Dowdell may have been misappropriating money.

The aquarium issued the following statement Monday afternoon:

“On October 27, 2014, Roy Dowdell, the Chief Operating Officer of The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, was placed on administrative leave following the discovery of discrepancies in the Aquarium’s petty cash account and Mr. Dowdell’s use of a company credit card. Mr. Dowdell resigned on November 3, 2014.

The Aquarium immediately began an investigation, which included forensic accounting conducted by an external auditing firm. The investigation has determined a total of $78,400 was misappropriated. The Aquarium has provided all information related to the case to the Norwalk Police Department for further investigation.

The Aquarium’s board and Chief Executive Officer are confident the facts of this case will not affect the financial health of the Aquarium. New controls have been put in place to strengthen the security of all accounts.”

The Aquarium has hired Prisco DeMercurio as an interim Chief Financial Officer.

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