WILKESBORO — A former AppalCART finance officer has been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and several counts of felony embezzlement by a public employee from the Wilkes Transportation Authority, according to Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office.
Michael Keith Norwood, 41, of 144 Country Lane, Millers Creek, was arrested on Nov. 25, along with Robin Craven Kipp, 55, of 4097 Speedway Drive, North Wilkesboro, for charges related to their times as executive directors of the WTA, Wilkes County’s public transportation agency.
Norwood is facing six charges of embezzlement and one charge of felony conspiracy and Kipp is facing seven counts of embezzlement, three counts of obtaining property by false pretense, and one count of felony conspiracy, according to the Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office. Both were released the same day under bonds of $30,000 (Kipp) and $25,000 (Norwood), according to the Wilkes County Jail.
According to the Wilkes Journal Patriot, Norwood is alleged to have embezzled a total of $44,500 from the WTA in unapproved merit pay, unapproved salary and “medical supplement funds.” Kipp is alleged to have embezzled more than $86,800, the newspaper stated.
The Wilkes Journal-Patriot stated that Norwood served as executive director of the WTA from February 2013 through May 2017 after being the finance officer of AppalCART for the eight years prior. Kipp, who had been the finance officer for the WTA, was appointed permanent executive director in May 2017 before resigning in July 2018, the newspaper stated.
AppalCART Director Craig Hughes confirmed on Dec. 3 that Norwood was a former employee and added that AppalCART had not been contacted by Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office about the case.