Charity: Volunteer embezzled $250,000

Chairwoman of the Down Syndrome Association Jennifer Truby says the fired treasurer has been involved with the charity for more than a decade. Truby says the treasurer was a dream volunteer– she earned a Volunteer of the Year Award , oversaw the organization’s finances and “bent over backwards” to help the charity.

But last Thursday, charity leaders say they discovered the former treasurer had stolen up to $250,000 from the association’s savings account. Associate board member Joe Caligiuri says he became suspicious when she refused to turn over a check for $325,000 she was supposed to invest.

“I was met with much avoidance. And then eventually I was able to make telephone contact with her at which time I was met with much resistance” Caligiuri explained.

Caligiuri says, once she admitted to the theft, the charity took action.

“I made immediate contact with the Columbus Police Department in the Economic Crime Unit and spoke to a detective. This detective… instructed me to contact Chase Bank Head of Security,” Caligiuri said.

WOSU is not reporting the treasurer’s name because she does not face criminal charges or civil court action.

The charity suspects the theft took place over several years. The stolen funds were meant to be used to support the association and its clients. A former IRS criminal investigator is working with the charity to recover the funds. Attorney for the charity, Mark Landis, said the Down Syndrome Association is taking steps to prevent future thefts.

“We want the money back. We want to make sure that this never happens again.”

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