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.