The former executive director of a nonprofit organization
that aids the poor has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from the
group, inflating her salary, and denying employees pension benefits,
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett recently announced.
The defendant served as executive director of the Voluntary
Action Center in Rochester between 1987 and March 2007. The organization
assists low income residents through donations of toys, unwanted furniture,
clothing, and medical equipment. The defendant controlled paying the
organization's bills and writing payroll and benefits checks. By 2001, her
salary had ballooned to $78,000, a large amount for a small nonprofit agency,
and due to suspicions over the size of her salary, the United Way, an important
contributor, cut funding in half, from $40,481 in 2000 to only $20,240 in 2001.
The defendant responded by withdrawing from the United Way,
and as a result, threw the organization's finances into serious turmoil.
Despite those financial problems, however, the defendant ensured that the
organization contributed to her pension plan, and in order to keep up payments,
allegedly excluded two of her employees from the plan by telling them they were
not eligible. She is charged with 11 felonies, each of which carries a maximum
penalty of 7 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.