Former Marshall County tourism executive under investigation for financial crimes - Huntsville News | WAAYTV.com and ABC 31: Local News

Former Marshall County tourism executive under investigation for financial crimes

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:24 am | Updated: 6:52 pm, Tue Aug 20, 2013.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WAAY) - The former executive director of the Marshall County Convention and Visitors Bureau is being investigated for crimes in connecting to allegations of financial mismanagement.

"In April, Lisa Socha was terminated after a unanimous vote by the board," said Chairman Tim McRae. 

McRae said after Socha's termination a financial review was conducted, and concerns about her management of funds allocated to the bureau came to light.

"We reported our concerns to law enforcement so that they could conduct their own investigation," said McRae.

McRae said Socha's termination was not made public and the allegations were kept quiet under advice from Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall. 

As president and executive director, Socha budgeted and allocated funds drawn from a county wide $1 surcharge tax on hotels and motels along with a 25-cent surcharge on campground sites. The funds are designed to promote Marshall County's various tourist destinations as well as cover the operating costs of the bureau.

According to McRae, Socha served in this role for nearly 20 years and managed these funds during the entirety of her employment. He said the Convention and Visitors Bureau operated on an average annual budget of approximately $100,000.

Sources close to the investigation said evidence collected in the case shows Socha used bureau funds to pay personal credit card purchases totaling between $60,000 to $100,000 over the past few years.

WAAY 31's Shea Allen continues to investigate this story and will have much more on WAAY 31 FirstNews at 5:00.

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