“This is a case about a man – John Carter of Osterville – who stole about $2.4 million from a museum where he worked as its president for 17 years,” the lawsuit begins, immediately adding that the FBI is investigating. The lawsuit says the Carter used a variety of methods to scam the museum. The suit says Carter: Had the museum pay more than $500,000 to buy and maintain boats that were solely “for his personal use and enjoyment.” It said the vessels included a 38-foot sailboat, a sport-fishing boat, and a power boat – which alone cost $446,000. Spent massively on three museum credit cards, racking up $594,000 in charges between 2003 and his departure in early 2006. He did not furnish supporting documents for most of the spending, the suit says. Collected more than $200,000 in improper expense reimbursements over five years, including billing for museum landscaping that was never done. Auditors could not find the firms in the Philadelphia area but they found similar-sounding companies in Cape Cod, the suit says. Spent $178,000 on maritime-theme artifacts that are now “unaccounted for,” including a $1,250 print of Admiral Dewey, a $6,600 medal, and four sketchbooks worth $55,000. The museum on Penn’s Landing, first opened in Society Hill in 1960, was envisioned as a tourist draw that would showcase Philadelphia’s history as a port. But it has struggled financially, and, in recent years, dipped deeply into its investment portfolio to cover operating costs.
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