A UT accounting professor was arrested Tuesday night and charged with stealing more than $107,000 from the American Spaniel Club.
The money was stolen to feed a gambling habit, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. The University has decided to place her on administrative leave, pending a review of her case.
Professor Barbara Lippincott, 54, was arrested around 10:30 Tuesday night and charged with grand theft. The alleged victim was the American Spaniel Club, a national New York-based corporation, where she served as volunteer treasurer.
According to Doug Tobin, a spokesperson for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Lippincott made 71 checks, totaling $107,099.39, payable to her personal Bank of America checking account, even though she was supposed to be a non-paid volunteer. The checks are said to have been written during a period extending from July 2006 to March 2007.
Gregory Nobel, an economic crimes detective with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, says that Lippincott had developed a habit of online video slot machines.
She was also facing financial troubles that may have led her to move from her home on 27515 Ascot Street in Wesley Chapel, where she wrote the checks, Tobin said.
Students of her Accounting 202 course came by the John Sykes classroom Wednesday to read a note that informed them that their class was cancelled. When it was explained to them why it was cancelled by Minaret reporters, the response was disbelief.
“I can’t believe it,” said one international business student, “what a hypocrite!” This was after there was a discussion among several students recalling an approximately ten minute lecture during Monday’s class about the necessity of ethics and integrity in modern accounting.
Scott Blodgett, a management major, was completely shocked. “She seemed legit,” he said, referring to her sincerity during the lecture. Patrick Sheehan agreed: “You would never look at that lady and be like, ‘you’re a crook.'”
Lead-up to the arrest.
Tobin says that Lippincott first told her husband, a USF professor, of her actions, and the couple sought an attorney’s advice.
Then they told the American Spaniel Club, who said they were missing $120,000, approximately $13,000 more than the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has been able to account for.
When the American Spaniel Club and Lippincott could not handle the matter civilly, the club contacted the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, says Tobin. The sheriff’s office is still working on accounting for the $13,000 discrepancy.
The Sheriff’s Office has described her as “very cooperative, having no prior arrests, and remorseful for what she did.” She was released on $5,000 bond around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Lippincott and her husband Charles had a number of show dogs, including a number of parti-colored cocker spaniels with academic names like “Cumlaude The Graduate” and “Cumlaude Get Smart.” Some have even won best in show honors.
According to UT’s Web site, Lippincott specializes in financial accounting and capital markets.
Lippincott is one of the advisers of the University’s Lambda Beta chapter of the national honor society, Beta Alpha Psi.
According to a Public Information Office release, five of her students finished third this summer in a national competition for best practices.
In addition to working with the American Spaniel Club, she was the former executive vice president for United Missouri Bank of Springfield in Springfield, Mo., according to her faculty profile.
She holds degrees from the University of Arkansas (BS), Southwest Missouri State University, (MAcc), University of Missouri, (Ph.D.).
She teaches Intermediate Accounting II, Accounting Theory, Financial Accounting Information.
Her husband, Charles Lippincott, has been a childhood education professor at USF for five years. Both earned bachelor’s degrees from the University of Arkansas.
Provost Janet McNew made the decision to place her on administrative leave, according to Eric Cardenas, the University’s Director of Public Information. Her courses for the rest of the semester will be picked up by other faculty members.
Jordan Chariton contributed to this story.