Audit: $44,000 in dubious charges at Education Department

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A state audit says that a former Nebraska Department of Education employee spent more than $44,000 on a work credit card on questionable items.     

The auditor says the former employee, Nicole Coffey, racked up the charges between January 2016 and April 2018 while serving as state advisor for DECA, which is a student marketing organization.     

Coffey told investigators that some of the charges, such as buying food for volunteers or thank-you gifts for officers, were meant to help the organization. But she says she was lax in keeping her personal and professional expenses separate.     

Coffey resigned in May 2018 after officials began questioning the expenses.     

The auditor says Coffey took out 13 cash advances in violation of department policies. 

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