Ex-NKY Convention and Visitors Bureau finance director accused of funneling millions

Posted at 2:05 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 18:09:17-05

COVINGTON, Ky. -- The former finance director of the Northern Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau is accused of paying more than $3.8 million of the group's money to people for nonexistent services.

Bridget Johnson, 58, worked for the visitors bureau for for 20 years, according to a citation report. Between May 2017 and September 2018, she's accused of sending online checks worth a total of at least $3,840,500 to real people who were never actually vendors for the visitors bureau and never actually performed any services for them.

Johnson deleted the transactions from the visitors bureau's monthly bank statements that she presented to its board, according to the citation. However, the visitors bureau said in a statement that its bank alerted them about "suspicious electronic transfers" in September. They suspended Johnson the next day and fired her on Oct. 3.

"The CVB board is immensely disappointed that a trusted, 20-year employee allegedly exploited her position and leveraged our internal processes and safeguards we had in place for her personal gain by allegedly stealing organizational funds and betraying our trust," the visitors bureau said in a written statement. "The CVB is currently evaluating and refining our internal controls and will make changes to ensure that similar criminal activity does not occur in the future."

Johnson is facing charges of theft by unlawful taking or disposition of property of $1 million or more, abuse of public trust and unlawful access to computer. A court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 27.