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Nonprofit director fired, accused of embezzling $30,000

Posted: June 13, 2014 - 1:16pm
Reva "Rennia" Johnston
Reva "Rennia" Johnston

A Faulkner County nonprofit has fired its executive director following an investigation into suspected forged checks and embezzlement.

The board of the Faulkner County Council on Developmental Disabilities (FCCDD) contacted police after an employee came forth saying he believed the executive director, Reva “Rennia” Johnston was embezzling money from the organization.

According to a report, after a brief internal audit, the board found forged checks totaling more than $12,000.  The board told police they hoped to have a full audit completed by a CPA in the future, but they were unable to do so due to the amount missing from the organization’s coffers.

According to the report, a detective contacted Johnston and asked her if she committed the forgeries, and she said yes.

The detective wrote, “She said she was sorry and did not mean to do this. She advised she visited a casino and was overwhelmed with it.  I asked her if any of the money was available to give back to FCCDD, and she said, ‘No, I have $23.’”

Reached at her home, Johnston told the Log Cabin Democrat, “I’ve got a severe gambling addiction and I’m trying to get help for that.”

According to the report, a detective looked through all payments made to Johnston in 2013 and 2014 and calculated the overpayments made on her paychecks. The total loss came to more than $31,000.

Johnston was arrested on a felony warrant on June 12. The prosecuting attorney’s office is charging her with forgery and theft of property.

Jackie Fliss, treasurer of the board of FCCDD, said, “The board has taken over operations of the agency, and services will not be interrupted. We have a commitment to the consumers of FCCDD, and even though Ms. Johnston hurt us financially, we’re still committed to providing services to those consumers.”

She said the board acted quickly after the employee came to them with the suspicion that Johnston was embezzling. Fliss said the employee reported it to two board members on May 20, the whole board met on May 22 and began looking at records, and by May 27 Johnston had been terminated by certified mail.

Fliss also noted FCCDD will move from its location at the United Services Center on Museum Road to the Independent Living Services building on Robins Street, where Fliss is executive director.

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lancejgosnell
534
Points
lancejgosnell 06/13/14 - 10:08 pm
2
0
In short: Executive Director

In short:

Executive Director took money from organization with the intent of winning it big and repaying what was borrowed. Yet, the money was lost and when missing on the financial books. Now, that the individual was caught the "I am sorry" & excuse statements begin.

Now, on a side note.

If she had won money and repaid it nobody would have known.

I wonder where do people get these ideas? Do that simply see an opportunity and think it's foolproof or does this sort of thing happen more often. Yet, if this happens more often when might this scenario repeat itself.

Igor Rabinowitz
9597
Points
Igor Rabinowitz 06/14/14 - 02:45 pm
2
0
Point of order

We don't know if anybody would have know. One would like to think that upon audit all would become apparent, even if she had hit the right number.

People get these ideas because they're no longer in control of their thinking. In this case the gambling buzz took over and one thought in terms of gambling, not in human terms.

It's no different than what a drug addict experiences, as their addiction grows and they become more-and-more asocial in their actions. The drugs do the thinking for them.

But I'm like you in that I don't get it. As someone who has zero interest in gambling I'm always amazed someone can get this drawn in, amazed and saddened. (Recall the UCA prez.)

lachowsj
6089
Points
lachowsj 06/14/14 - 06:18 am
2
0
Previous offenses?

I can have some sympathy for this woman if this is her first offense. Yes it would have been better if she admitted a gambling addiction before she was caught. But if she pleads guilty now she can do a short stint in the slammer, be put on probation with the condition that she repay the debt and get some counseling. If she is serious about overcoming her addiction that is what she will do.

Conwegian
101
Points
Conwegian 06/14/14 - 08:33 am
4
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Where was the board?

Overpayments on paychecks? That's pretty easy to see. Who was signing those checks? Were generally accepted accounting principles followed? What were the internal controls? These are basic board responsibilities.

ARBEAR
1334
Points
ARBEAR 06/16/14 - 03:16 pm
5
0
Shameful

It's shameful that Faulkner County has had to fire and then convict three crooked non-profit directors in the past four years.

2010: United Fund Director Samantha Huseas-Pierce is now a convicted felon.

2012: Habitat For Humanity Director Patricia Hoskins is now a convicted felon.

Now this woman will become a convicted felon.

I wonder if Huseus-Pierce and Haskins paid back the tens of thousands of dollars they stole from their non-profit organizations?

ucantbserious
30573
Points
ucantbserious 06/17/14 - 07:43 am
5
0
Agreed

When people donate to a charity they want to know that their money is going to a good cause. Not to line the pockets of some leach who is siphoning every penny they can out of it. I'm afraid incidents or corruption and abuse like these hurt charitable giving.

Elmer Fudd
5107
Points
Elmer Fudd 06/16/14 - 09:54 am
0
2
ARBEAR don't

you think is a good chance for the LCD act like a newspaper should and look into this and report back? Doubt they will as I have suggested other investigations into issues available through the freedom of information act. Either they don't care,afraid if stepping on some ones toes or have know clue about how to find out.

lachowsj
6089
Points
lachowsj 06/16/14 - 03:38 pm
4
0
June 17

June 17 is the 42nd anniversary of the Watergate break-in. Those were the days when the power of the press through investigative journalism could bring down a president. How many LCD reporters were alive then?

BatmanandRobin
262
Points
BatmanandRobin 06/16/14 - 07:17 pm
1
3
Maybe she's hiding the money

Maybe she's hiding the money under her blouse.

reader
20188
Points
reader 06/17/14 - 07:39 am
2
0
These actions cause immense damage

to the reputation of Non-profit organizations. People are already mistrustful of giving money away unless they are somehow affected by it or connected to it. Non-profits should be audited on a regular basis if they want to be seen as legitimate.

The money was important to the developmentally disabled, this non-profit is supposed to assist.

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