Former Museum Director Found Guilty of Fraud and Forgery

Works from the permanent collections turned up on auction blocks.

Former Art Gallery of Northumberland director Dorette Carter. Photo: Northumberland News

Dorette Carter, the former director and curator of the Art Gallery of Northumberland, located approximately 70 miles east of Toronto, was found guilty on December 21 of three separate charges relating to fraud and forgery, the Northumberland News reports.

Carter faced 15 charges including two counts of fraud on the public for accepting a CAD 5,000 (USD 3,600) donation for a fraudulent purpose; two counts of theft by conversion over CAD 5,000; six counts of forgery for signing documents for a fraudulent purpose; and three counts of drawing a document without authority.

Carter was arrested in July 2014 following a police investigation into financial irregularities including suspicious bank transactions and an acquisition of two artworks for a local community center paid for with museum funds without board approval.

According to a Northumberland News report from that year, twelve artworks were discovered missing from the museum’s collection.

Officials were alerted by suspicious bank transactions. Photo: northumberland897.ca

Officials were alerted by suspicious bank transactions.
Photo: northumberland897.ca

The director and curator—who left her position in February—was subsequently found guilty of producing a fraudulent check for CAD 20,050 (USD 14,433) and forging donation documents with the intent to defraud.

According to gallery vice-president and acting treasurer Duane Schermerhorn, the twelve missing artworks remain unaccounted for. “If a piece is not accounted for—we really can’t account for it. We don’t know what’s happened to it. It might be missing, it might be destroyed and in some cases if we can’t get any evidence, we will never know,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Carter is due to appear in court again on February 29, 2016.

Museum vice president Duane Schermerhorn admitted he doesn't know what happened to the missing artworks. Photo: Northumberland News

Museum vice president Duane Schermerhorn admitted he doesn’t know what happened to the 12 missing artworks.
Photo: Northumberland News

In June 2014, the museum had already reported an operational deficit totaling approximately CAD 90,000 (USD 64,790). Artworks from the gallery’s permanent collections appeared on the auction blocks “and there were discrepancies in the bank transactions,” according to the Northumberland News.


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