SMITHFIELD – A former official with Harbor Inc. in Smithfield, has plead guilty to embezzling money from the non-profit agency, that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Rhonda Lynn Miles of Clayton was indicted by a Grand Jury in June 2019 on numerous charges. On June 3, 2022, Miles plead guilty to nine separate felonies in Johnston County Superior Court. Miles plead guilty to four counts of Embezzlement, four counts of Corporate Malfeasance, and one count of Obstruction of Justice. Shes was sentenced by the Honorable Joshua W. Willey, Jr. of New Bern.
Mles was previously employed as the Director of Operations and Financial Manager for Harbor, Inc. After admitting that she embezzled $19,115.54 from the non-profit over the course of approximately one year, Miles was sentenced to five consecutive terms of imprisonment ranging from a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 17 months. Those sentences were suspended, and Miles was placed on supervised probation for a period of 60 months. She was ordered to make restitution to Harbor Inc. and to pay a fine of $2,000.
In February 2016, Miles was hired by Harbor Inc. and entrusted to pay bills, assist with fundraisers and grants, and maintain financial records. When an employee left later that year, Harbor assigned most of its fiscal management duties to Miles. Afterwards and without approval, Miles modified procedures to make payments on credit card accounts no longer requiring two-signature checks and backup documentation.
Using a Harbor credit card she was told to cancel but never did, Miles used the card to purchase items for herself from Amazon, Walmart, Young Living Oils, eBay, LuLaRoe, Norwex, Etsy stores, Perfectly Posh, Younique, and other retailers. Additionally, Miles used the Harbor checking account to make electronic and online payments to her personal accounts at Lowe’s, Capital One, Discover, Comenity, and Chase.
She was also convicted for obstruction of justice for failing to return a laptop computer issued to her by Harbor that contained accounting files, which prevented other officials from accessing the financial records.
Miles resigned from Harbor on August 27, 2017 but not before she alleged deleted numerous files and emails on the laptop computer in an attempt to conceal the financial thefts. On the date of her resignation, she changed the contact email address for the credit card to her personal email address, in an alleged attempt to conceal the embezzlement.
Following her resignation, she made small monthly payments on the credit card account to prevent Harbor from knowing the credit card remained active.
Harbor hired a Raleigh-based certified public accountant to reconstruct its missing QuickBooks financial records. Harbor had to pay over $80,000 for the CPA’s services to repair the damages and retrieve their financial records.
The Board of Directors of Harbor Inc. released a statement Monday to the Johnston County Report. It read:
”Several years ago when Harbor fired Rhonda Miles, she denied she stole from Harbor and said many untrue and hurtful things about Harbor in the community. For several years, Harbor did the right thing by not engaging in public debate and accusations. Harbor allowed the legal process to run its course, which has now concluded in Rhonda Miles’ conviction to nine felonies.”
“This was a painful process for Harbor as it is for any victim of crime. Harbor is very grateful to all those involved through the N.C. Conference of D.A.’s Financial Crime Unit for their dedicated and tireless work to prove the truth and hold Miles accountable. Harbor is also grateful to Executive Director Kay Johnson who stood firm through the difficult time when Miles denied the truth and spread false information. Kay is Harbor’s “rock”.
“Harbor now looks forward to putting this unpleasant chapter behind it and moving forward with renewed commitment to its cause and the victims it serves. Even though justice was served only through dedicated prosecution that forced the convictions, rather than an appropriate recognition of wrong for which responsibility should have been accepted long ago, Harbor wishes Rhonda Miles well as she makes her future as productive as possible.”
These case was handled by the North Carolina Conference of District Attorney’s Financial Crime Unit and Senior Financial Crimes Prosecutor Jordan M. Ford. The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys is an independent prosecutorial agency whose mission is to assist in improving the administration of justice in North Carolina by coordinating the prosecution efforts of the various district attorneys, by assisting them in the administration of their offices. The agency consists of and is governed by Elected District Attorneys and has a staff in Raleigh to carry out their goals and objectives.