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Two charged with embezzling nearly $700,000 from CNY SPCA

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, right, talks about the embezzlement case onvolving two former staffers at the CNY SPCA. At left is former Onondaga County Executive Nick Pirro, a member of the SPCA's board

The former Executive Director of the Central New York SPCA, and a veterinary technician at the shelter, have been arraigned on charges that they embezzled nearly $700,000 from shelter’s accounts.

Paul Morgan, the former Executive Director, and Taylor Gilkey, a former vet tech, allegedly stole a total of $692,000 over a five-year period. The two have entered not guilty pleas to second degree grand larceny charges.  Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says the investigation is continuing.

“When I say ongoing investigation, we want to find out the exact amount of money that was allegedly stolen by these two individuals,” said Fitzpatrick. “Were it to exceed a million dollars, then it would change from a class C felony to a class B felony and potentially involve more jail time.”

Fitzpatrick says Morgan would write checks to himself and to Gilkey, and then would take gambling trips together. Fitzpatrick said the two were apparently in a physical relationship.

“It’s frustrating because so much good could have been done with that money,” he said. “And there’s payrolls to be met, and those things are still being met , and will be met. But you could have improved facilities, or clean up, or food, or nutrition, or publicity about adoption.  There’s so many good things that could have been done.”

Former Onondaga County Executive Nick Pirro, who is on the board of the SPCA, is currently serving as the interim head of the SPCA, says a trust was broken when Morgan and Gilkey allegedly stole funds from the animal shelter. Pirro brought suspicions of embezzlement to the DA’s office earlier this year.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.