Monroe County woman facing fraud charges for misuse of non-profit donations

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MONTROSE, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WOLF) -- A Monroe County woman is facing fraud charges tonight, accused of using money intended for an animal rescue she started in Montrose, Susquehanna County for her own personal expenses.

This is the condition Robert Sullivan says his former tenant, 29-year-old Nicole Covage, left his rental home in back in May.

Dog waste appears to cover surfaces all over the home.

Cages left in deplorable conditions.

“Just scary. I just can’t imagine somebody doing that.”

Sullivan says Covage started renting this home on Lake Avenue in Montrose in October last year and shortly after she moved in, he says he started getting questions from neighbors asking if he knew how many dogs she had in the home.

Covage had been operating Fall in Ruv, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, out of the home.

Then, she was charged and later found guilty of operating a kennel without a license and failure to keep said kennel in sanitary and humane decisions. However she was found not guilty of animal cruelty.

Sullivan says he made the decision to evict Covage, but once she left by May this year the house had thousands of dollars in damage.

“The rugs were soaked with urine. Apparently what had happened was she let the dogs run loose in the house with no way to let them out, so they urinated and passed stool all over the house. There was clumps of feces throughout the house,” Sullivan said.

And now, more charges.

Police say Covage received more than $7,500 in donations for Fall in Ruv and used more than $5,000 of that money for her own personal use.

Covage denies those accusations.

“Its primarily on veterinary care, supplies for the animals, food for the animals, but I mean the documentation we went through today exceeds – the expenses exceed what she has actually taken in as donations,” her attorney Bill Thompson said.

Covage also denies leaving that home in Montrose in those conditions and her attorney says she still has a 501(c)(3) license as well as a kennel license.

Her preliminary hearing is set for December 18.

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