Former Ohio zoo executives indicted, accused of misusing over $2M of public funds

COLUMBUS — Three former Columbus Zoo executives have been indicted for their alleged roles in a scheme to defraud the zoo for over $2 million.

Former Chief Executive Officer Tom Stalf and former Marketing Director Pete Fingerhut are accused of defrauding the zoo and attempting to conceal their efforts, according to Attorney General Dave Yost.

Also indicted was former Chief Financial Officer Greg Bell, who is accused of knowing and being involved in the defrauding.

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The three were indicted on a combined 89 felony counts.

The former executives are alleged to have manipulated credit card and check authorization forms for over a decade, using the profits for personal use, Yost said.

The stolen money is said to be used on things including suites and tickets to concerts and sporting events, golf memberships, trips to multiple states and foreign countries, meals, and more.

Prosecutors allege at one point zoo tickets were exchanged for tickets to Game 6 of the 2016 World Series.

The financial benefits were also allegedly not claimed by Stalf and Fingerhut when they filed their state and federal taxes.

Stalf and Bell voluntarily resigned from their positions in 2021, according to our news partners at WBNS.

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