The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, May. 22, 2024

AG: oversight needed in charitable sector

Submitted information

WELLSTON – A Wellston, Ohio woman who stole charitable funds from a local booster club was sentenced Wednesday to one year of community control and will repay the more than $9,000 that she took, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Jackson County Prosecutor Randy Dupree announced.

Melanie Stanley had originally faced a fourth-degree felony charge of grand theft for misusing funds from the Wellston City School District’s volleyball booster program, The Spike Club (formerly the Wellston Match Point Club). In early June, though, Judge Christopher Regan of Jackson County Common Pleas Court accepted Stanley’s guilty plea to a lesser charge of misdemeanor theft after Stanley agreed to pay back the stolen money.

Dave Yost

“She stole from the team and abused the trust of parents,” Yost said. “No matter how big or small the organization, thieves looking to set themselves up with charitable funds need to know that they’re playing a losing game.”

The Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section helped the Wellston Police Department investigate the case after booster club volunteers reported discrepancies in the nonprofit’s accounts to the police.

The volunteers said Stanley was the only officer with access to the accounts, and that she had used the charitable funds to make large personal purchases and issue checks to family members.

“Just as good teamwork can lead to victory, keen oversight can assure charitable dollars serve their intended purpose,” said Jackson County Prosecutor Randy Dupree. “We’re grateful for the collaborative investigation to put the money back in the hands of the booster club where it belongs.”

Attorney General Yost said the case highlights the need for oversight in the charitable sector, noting how a passive board of directors and poor internal controls can spell disaster for a charity.

Coinciding with the adjudication of the Jackson County case, Yost also announced that four new web-based trainings are available under the office’s Charitable University platform (Charitable U.), which launched in January:

  • Governmental Filings and Recordkeeping
  • Board Policy Considerations
  • Avoiding Theft and Internal Controls
  • Charitable Gaming

Charitable leaders who complete trainings in each of the four Charitable U. “pillars” will have their name and organization listed on the AGO website as a way to salute their efforts. They also receive a completion certificate that can be shared with funders as a way to reinforce their organization’s commitment to sound policies of board governance.

Charitable U. trainings are required for nonprofit agencies applying for grants from the office.

More infornation is available at charitable.ohioago.gov.

POSTED: 09/29/23 at 3:41 am. FILED UNDER: News