Woman Sentenced for Embezzling from Homeless Charity

Former CFO Sentenced for Embezzling $440,000 from Charleston Homeless Charity

homeless charityOn Tuesday, September 30th, the former CFO of a Charleston-area homeless charity, Crisis Ministries, was sentenced to 4 years in federal prison after being found guilty of embezzling money from the group for almost a decade.

Carol Libby, 56 years old, was found guilty of embezzling $440,000 from Crisis Ministries over a period of 7 years. The nonprofit was the largest homeless charity in South Carolina, but has since changed its name to One-Eighty Place, and still faces financial difficulties as a result of the lost embezzled funds.

Although Libby appeared unemotional during her sentencing hearing, she apologized for her actions in court.

“I never thought at the time that while I was doing this, I was taking food out of the mouth of someone who was homeless,” she said. “I was delusional to think that this would end at some point on a positive note.”

According to the charges, from 2006 to 2013, Libby wrote around 440 fraudulent checks to businesses and vendors on behalf of Crisis Ministries. She made the checks payable to actual vendors, to help hide her fraud on the account books, but then forged the businesses’ names and wrote her own bank account numbers on the back of the checks. She then deposited the checks into several personal accounts.

Libby flaunted a luxurious lifestyle to the office, taking vacations to South Beach, and spending lots of time in spas and at music concerts. Libby only made $80,000 per year, but in 7 years, no one thought to question her extravagance. Her embezzling scheme was not discovered until the bank tipped Crisis Ministries off to the fraud in 2013. Her last act of fraud occurred the day before she was arrested.

“Mrs. Libby had hundreds of occasions to reflect on what she was doing and stop,” ssistant U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said. “Unfortunately, the only thing that stopped her was the bank.”

Although Libby faced up to 20 years in prison for embezzling from the homeless charity, she received only 4 years, and must pay over $276,000 in restitution. She will also be on supervised release for 3 years after she is released from prison.

Federal Embezzling Charges in South Carolina

Federal charges for embezzling carry very stiff penalties. Defendants can lose their professional license, their jobs, and damage relationships with their friends and family, even if they are ultimately found not guilty. Punishments for those convicted for embezzling can include fines, imprisonment, probation, payment of compensation and loss of legal rights among other potential punishments.

For an individual to be convicted of embezzlement, the prosecution must prove:

  1. The defendant manipulated resources illegally;
  2. The victim entrusted the defendant with the resources that were allegedly embezzled;
  3. The defendant intended to deprive the owner of those resources; and
  4. The defendant acquired access to those resources through his/her employment

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Federal Embezzling Charges

If you or someone you know is facing embezzling charges, contact our office today to get the help of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who can review your case and determine your best course of action. We offer free, confidential consultations, so do not hesitate to contact us. 803.252.4800.

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