Gift Card Scheme Lands Longtime Police Department Employee in Hot Water

EUSTIS, Florida—A police support coordinator accused of defrauding Eustis Police Department of $6,665 worth of gift cards, abruptly resigned and she is facing a criminal charge, according to an internal investigation obtained only by Inside Lake.

Pam Gordon, who has worked at EPD for 19 years, is alleged to have altered invoices submitted to the City of Eustis finance department to hide complimentary gift cards from a marketing company, the report states.

In early May, an EPD sergeant opened a package containing promotional materials for EPD and found an envelope containing nine $25 Amazon gift cards. The sergeant thought it was odd and reported her findings to a captain. The captain told the sergeant to contact the company to ensure the cards were not sent in error. During the call, the department’s sales representative told the sergeant the company had been sending gift cards to the police department “for years” to reward officers or recognize people for good deeds. The sergeant asked if some specific items they had in storage were from the company and the representative reportedly said, “Pam and (I) have been friends for 18 years and she would never cheat on (me,)” according to the report.

The sergeant and captain have been employed with EPD for a combined 35 years and neither had ever received any of the gift cards to give to officers they supervised, the report states. The information they found was given to the Office of Professional Standards for review.

The internal affairs investigator contacted the marketing company and the city’s finance department to request copies of the invoices submitted by Gordon so he could compare them, and he found numerous invoices were altered.

According to the report, the city provided invoices from late 2018 through January 2022 and invoices that should have contained gift cards had been altered. The investigator found that numerous gift cards were sent in $25 and $10 increments for Amazon, Bath & Body Works, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, Target, and Walmart. Most of the cards were in $25 increments and sometimes as many as 14 cards were sent in a package. A total of $6,665 worth of gift cards were sent to the police department since 2009.

The investigator interviewed two past police chiefs and an interim chief and none of them had knowledge of Gordon receiving the gift cards.

On June 1, the investigator informed Chief Craig Capri of his findings and Capri requested he begin an internal investigation and Gordon was placed on administrative leave. Gordon was notified of the investigation the same day and immediately said the gift cards were for her. When the investigator told Gordon how they found the gift cards, Gordon “immediately became accusatory toward (the sergeant) due to personal differences and alleging (the sergeant) won,” the report states.

Gordon was informed the investigator found invoices altered to hide the gift cards and Gordon said, “(I) altered the invoices so finance would not question the receipt of the gift cards. Can you imagine the (expletive) we would have gotten from them if they saw the gift cards?” she reportedly told the investigator.

Gordon said she used the Amazon gift cards to order things for the department, but the investigator did not find any evidence of gift cards on the department’s account. Gordon became very upset, according to the report, and resigned immediately. She initially refused to sign the notification of the investigation, but later signed it after Capri read it to her. She continued to blame the sergeant who found the gift cards in May and said she did nothing wrong; she removed some personal items from her office and left, the report states.

On June 6, the investigator spoke with the department’s sales representative, and she changed her story from what she told the sergeant in May. She told the investigator the gift cards were sent to Gordon for her to choose how to use them and the cards did not have a specific purpose. She went on to explain there is a point system where a gift card is awarded for every 900 points earned by purchasing merchandise. “This conversation is different from the conversation (she) had with (the sergeant) when (the sergeant) contacted her back in May,” the investigator noted in the report.

The investigator called her back a few minutes later and asked if she talked to Gordon; she paused and said it was the last time an order was placed, which was a while ago, according to the report.

The following day Capri contacted Gordon about not receiving a resignation letter and Gordon accused the investigator of not contacting the sales representative. Gordon said no one contacted the sales representative as of the weekend of June 4 and June 5 because she called the representative and asked if anyone spoke to her. “This is the direct opposite of what (the sales representative) had just told me the day before,” the investigator noted in the report.

The investigator concluded that Gordon had violated two department policies, conduct unbecoming and conformance to laws and he recommended termination. A probable cause affidavit for scheme to defraud was turned over to the State Attorney’s Office about two weeks ago.

“Charges have been filed,” Jonathan Olson, State Attorney’s Office felony division supervisor, told Inside Lake. Gordon was not arrested, Olson said. She was sent a summons to appear, and her arraignment is scheduled for June 27. 

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