September 24, 2018
FORMER HUMANE SOCIETY DIRECTOR CONVICTED OF EMBEZZLEMENT
Nicola ("Nikki") Congero, a former Executive Director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society pleaded guilty today to felony embezzlement for using Humane Society money for her own personal purposes.
Congero, 50, was hired in early 2014 as Executive Director of the Humane Society where she engaged in numerous instances of embezzlement during her employment. Over the span of 3 years, she used Humane Society money for her own purposes including paying for furniture for her home, personal vehicle repair, airline tickets, cell phone coverage, retreat expenses, and other personal expenses. In addition, Congero withdrew cash and made unauthorized purchases with cash back payments.
The case against Congero was an 18 month investigation by the South Lake Tahoe Police Department with Lead Detective Barrett Rider, the El Dorado County District Attorney's Office, Deputy District Attorney Casey Mandrell and the Lake Tahoe Humane Society. In total, the investigation revealed that Congero had embezzled $59,664.78.
As part of a plea agreement, Congero will be placed on formal probation for a period of 4 years, serve 6 months in the El Dorado County Jail and will agree to pay restitution for the full amount embezzled of $59,664.78. Additional terms of her probation include warrantless search and seizure of her person, home, vehicle, and electronics. As a result of the plea, Congero will be required to abstain from all forms of gambling with stay away orders from all gambling and casino related businesses. She will also not be allowed to obtain employment with any business that would require her to handle money as part of her job duties. Finally, Congero will be barred from requesting any court for a reduction in charges or expungement until the full amount of restitution is paid to the Humane Society.
Judgement and sentencing is scheduled for October 5, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. At that time, a representative from the Humane Society may read a victim impact statement on behalf of the organization.