EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — The Humane Society of El Paso chairwoman, Elke Cumming announced on Tuesday night that they have fired Luke Westerman as executive director after he was indicted on 19 felony counts of fraud and theft in Ohio.
Below is a statement from the Humane Society of El Paso:
Earlier today, the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of El Paso formally terminated Luke Westerman as the organization’s executive director. While our initial investigations have yielded no evidence that his actions compromised the financial integrity of the organization, we are undertaking a in depth examination of all financial records. As in prior years, we are engaging our independent certified public accounting firm to conduct the annual audit of the 2018 financial statements. Longtime Director of Operations Julie Rutledge has been appointed as the organization’s interim executive director while we begin the process of searching for a permanent executive director. We recognize that the allegations against Mr. Westerman have shaken the community’s trust in the organization. We are committed to earning back the trust of the El Paso community which we have served for nearly seven decades as we move forward with our mission to prevent suffering, neglect, abuse and cruelty to animals, provide information, raise public awareness of animal issues, and promote responsible guardianship and kindness toward all living things.
Westerman previously worked in finance and started a venture capital firm in Columbus, Ohio.
A grand jury in Ohio indicted him on 19 counts of securities law violations and theft, charges which could land him in prison for years, if convicted.
Westerman is from Columbus, Ohio.
Westerman has been in El Paso for a year. During that time, an investigation by KFOX14 revealed years of financial and legal troubles leading to Westerman being stripped of his securities license when he worked on Wall Street.
KFOX14 Investigates reported that the charges Westerman is facing are from money he has solicited for investment purposes since 2010, according to an Ohio prosecutor. He is accused of swindling $700,000 from 10 Ohio citizens.
KFOX14 Investigates first reported about Westerman’s alleged past legal issues.