GRETNA, La. - A former sheriff's dispatcher in a suburb of New Orleans has been arrested, accused of refusing to return more than $1.2 million that had been accidentally deposited into her brokerage account, authorities said.
Kelyn Spadoni, 33, was taken into custody Wednesday on charges of theft valued over $25,000, bank fraud and illegal transmission of monetary funds, nola.com and WVUE-TV reported. The reports said she was fired by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office after her arrest.
Spadoni is being held at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center on a $50,000 bond. It was unknown if she has an attorney who could speak on her behalf.
Spadoni is accused of immediately moving the funds to another account and using some of the money to buy a new car and a house, authorities said.
Authorities said a clerical error had caused Charles Schwab, a major financial services corporation, to deposit more than $1.2 million into her brokerage account when it only meant to transfer about $82 in February, nola.com reported. When the bank attempted to reclaim the money, the request was rejected because the money was not available, according to the sheriff's office.
The sheriff's office said it was later learned that Spadoni had moved the funds into another account.
Capt. Jason Rivarde, a sheriff’s spokesman, said that although the money was put into her account, "it's not her money."
"She has no legal claim to that money," he added. "Even if it was put in there by mistake. It was an accounting error."
Charles Schwab & Co. sued Spadoni on Tuesday in federal court. The company tried to contact Spadoni several times to have the transferred funds returned but were unsuccessful, Rivarde said. So far, about 75% of the money has been recovered, he added.
The company argued in its lawsuit that Spadoni’s account contract with Schwab includes an agreement that if a client receives an overpayment of funds, the client is required to return the full amount.
"If someone accidentally puts an extra zero on a utility payment, they would want that money returned or credited to them. This is no different," Rivarde said.
He said Spadoni had been with the sheriff’s office 911 center for 4 and 1/2 years.