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Records Show Former OSU Employee Spent $800 K on Sex Toys, DVDs with School Credit Card

STILLWATER, Oklahoma from www.newsok.com — A former Oklahoma State University employee resigned recently after being caught using a university credit card to buy tens of thousands of dollars of lingerie, sex toys and other personal items, records show.

2002 file photo – Oklahoma Museum of Higher Education in Old Central on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. Chemistry lab display in the basement.

Hundreds of pieces of women’s lingerie made up most of the questionable purchases by former employee Cynthia Low, according to receipts reviewed by The Oklahoman.

Other items Low, 44, bought with her taxpayer-funded credit card included video games, DVDs, romance novels, diet pills, beauty products and children’s toys.

Low resigned under pressure in February. She has not been charged.

“Oklahoma State University will not tolerate this type of action,” OSU spokeswoman Carrie Hulsey-Greene said in a statement. “The university is continuing its investigation which began following a review of transactions.”

Payne County prosecutors are assisting with the investigation.

OSU officials and prosecutors have yet to determine the exact amount of alleged improper spending. It appears to be tens of thousands of dollars, records show.

Low could not be reached for comment. Her phone is disconnected, and no one answered the door at her mobile home outside Yale, about 25 miles east of Stillwater.

For now, taxpayers are on the hook for Low’s spending spree; OSU officials said they’ve had to pay the bills.

Low was a senior financial assistant in the university’s chemistry department.

Beginning in 2003, Low regularly used her university credit card to buy more than $10,000 a month in laboratory and office supplies.

Low was making about $28,000 a year when she resigned. She spent at least $806,000 on her university credit card during her employment at OSU, records show.

Most spending was legitimate until summer 2009, when Low began making purchases with the credit card for items clearly not for the chemistry department. Most of the questionable transactions were with online retailer Amazon, including:

• Dozens of sex toys, pieces of lingerie and other clothing for $2,300;

• More than 50 pieces of lingerie for $1,500;

• More than 30 panties and slips for $756;

• Estee Lauder lip plumper and makeup for $530;

• Fragrances and lotions from Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works for $311;

• Nintendo Wii games and DVDs for $284;

• Sapphire and cubic zirconia jewelry for $148.

• Records show several transactions for similar items on Low’s university credit card beginning in August 2009 and ending when she resigned. Other questionable transactions appeared in previous years.

Beginning in August, Low sometimes listed OSU as the billing address and her home as the shipping address.

Many of the questionable transactions on Low’s university credit card began about nine months after she and her husband emerged from personal bankruptcy, records show.

The couple filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June 2008, listing $158,732 in debt.

More than $18,000 of that debt was to credit card companies, bankruptcy records show.

Other debtors included payday loan services, hospitals and lenders who provided money for various vehicles and their mobile home.

The bankruptcy closed in December 2008.

In spring 2008, Low’s wages were garnished from OSU by a payday loan company that had a court judgment against her for $1,005.

OSU officials continued to allow Low to use her university credit card even as her wages were being garnished from the university.

Since discovering Low’s spending spree, OSU officials have held training sessions to make sure employees understand how to use them properly.

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