A former librarian in Stratford is now facing a single criminal count of embezzling more than $15,000 worth of property and cash from the public library she once oversaw.
The felony embezzlement charge was filed late last week against Benita Kay Weaver, who documents show also lists a last name as Ardery.
The formal allegation against Weaver, 55, comes after Stratford police called in the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to help with a closer look into the financial matters of the Chandler-Watts Library.
Weaver was the librarian there from 2017 through June 25, 2020. During that time she was authorized to make purchases for the library through two funds – one governed by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and another for a grant awarded in 2016.
A court affidavit shows Weaver's replacement at the library, hired in August 2020, noticed some “odd” purchases when gathering financial records for the facility. Some of those purchases were for Bible covers, T-shirts, coffee mugs and tote bags.
That new librarian also apparently noticed that Weaver had made some in-store purchases on her last day on the job and even 18 days later in mid-July 2020.
A month later an inventory of the Stratford library was conducted to check for recently purchased laptop computers. Also expanded was an examination of the library's financials going back to 2017.
“She determined property and books were purchased by Weaver that were missing from the library,” stated an OSBI special agent in a filed affidavit accompanying the charge document.
The newest librarian also reported seeing missing items like books, computers and miscellaneous electronic equipment on Weaver's social media pages.
Records show property Weaver had purchased but were not in the library totaled about $15,800.
An examination of the Stratford school's scholastic book fair also determined more than $1,200 was missing.
In February this year OSBI agents searched Weaver's residence in Duncan, where they reported finding about $3,700 worth of property and another $1,800 worth of books purchased for the library.
“According to Weaver, some of the items she purchased with her personal money and some of the items she was going to take back to the library.
OSBI concluded that Weaver had embezzled more than $15,000 worth property resulting in the felony charged filed May 7 in Garvin County District Court.