Supreme Court upholds conviction of former Buffalo chamber leader

BUFFALO — The state’s highest court has affirmed the conviction of former Buffalo Chamber of Commerce CEO Angela Fox.

“The evidence showing Ms. Fox lacked authority to use the Chamber’s credit cards for personal purchases was more than sufficient to support the jury’s verdict,” the Wyoming Supreme Court wrote in a July 10 opinion.

In May 2019, Fox was found guilty on three counts of felony theft for making unauthorized personal charges on chamber credit cards. Those purchases include charges at a wedding boutique in Billings, Montana, and a ring from a jewelry store in Billings.

Judge William Edelman sentenced Fox in the Fourth Judicial District Court to two to five years in prison. Edelman suspended all but 90 days of the sentence and also ordered Fox to serve 10 years of unsupervised probation until restitution in the amount of $16,601 was paid to the chamber.

In January 2020, Fox appealed the conviction to the Wyoming Supreme Court. The appeal did not dispute that Fox used the chamber’s credit cards and received goods and services from third parties through the use of those cards. Instead, Fox argued that she charged items to credit cards that she was authorized to use, obligating the funds of the chamber, and the chamber then voluntarily parted with its money by signing the checks to pay the credit card bills.

However, in its opinion, the court argued that the question of whether the chamber voluntarily parted with its property was immaterial to the case. Instead, the court said, “the jury simply needed to find that the Chamber never authorized Ms. Fox to use available credit on the two credit cards for personal purchases.”

The justices found plenty of evidence that Fox was not authorized to use the cards for personal purchases. Chamber board members Cindy Kremers and Jon Williams testified that Fox knew the chamber’s credit cards were to be used for chamber-related purchases only. Circumstantial evidence shows that Fox knew she was not using the cards properly as she repeatedly concealed her personal use of the cards by not maintaining monthly statements and falsifying the explanations of personal charges on QuickBooks.

“Sufficient evidence shows Ms. Fox exercised unauthorized control over the Chamber’s property,” the court ruled.