July 31, 2014

Elyria
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63°F
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Animal shelter founder arrested, accused of stealing employee’s identity

SHEFFIELD TWP. — The founder of a nonprofit animal shelter was arrested Wednesday after allegations that she ordered medical supplies using an employee’s personal information without her permission.

Luli

Crystal Luli, 38, of Lorain, is facing theft and felony forgery charges as a result of the allegations made by former employee Dr. Cathryne Wittlinger.

Wittlinger told police Luli applied for a credit account through Butler Schein Co., a company specializing in animal health supplies, and that Luli ordered several products using Wittlinger’s personal information. She said she first became aware that the purchases were made after she started receiving billing invoices from the company, which she contacted and suspended the account.

Wittlinger has resigned from the Ohio Pet Placement Foundation, which Luli owns and where the alleged transactions took place.

Luli was contacted by a Lorain County sheriff’s deputy Feb. 19, and she said she believed she had permission to order the medications and apply for credit by signing Wittlinger’s name. The reporting deputy, Stephen Fuller, wrote that Luli did not have any paperwork allowing her to sign on Wittlinger’s behalf.

Luli was arrested Wednesday after turning herself in to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. She declined to comment Thursday, saying she would “love to comment,” but she was advised not to.

A preliminary hearing was set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Lorain Municipal Court.

The Ohio Pet Placement Foundation began in 2005 as a nonprofit organization offering care to animals awaiting adoption.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.