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May 19, 2010 permalink
In North Carolina Mecklenburg's Department of Social Services (Charlotte) operated a Giving Tree program to buy Christmas gifts for needy children and families. The tree gave a large part of its bounty to one of the department's employees, Cindy Brady, who used the money to pay off her personal credit card debt.
Former DSS employee pleads guilty to embezzling money from Christmas fund
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Accusations of embezzlement have led to changes at Mecklenburg's Department of Social Services. The county will now reorganize the handling of its finances.
The employee allegedly created dozens of fictitious receipts and then submitted them claiming she was buying gifts for people in need at Christmas.
Former Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services employee Cindy Brady has pleaded guilty to stealing money from the Giving Tree program, a program used to buy Christmas gifts for needy children and families.
Brady is charged with three separate criminal counts. Investigators say between 2007 and 2009 she created false receipts and then submitted them to DSS. A total of $112,000 is missing. Federal, state and local investigators say Brady used as much as $30,000 of Giving Tree funds to pay off her personal credit card debt.
We tried to talk to Brady. She did not answer her door or phone Tuesday night.
At the Mecklenburg County Commission meeting, Chair Jennifer Roberts said, "The board is pleased that the law enforcement investigation will result in justice being served regarding Ms. Brady's wrongdoing. At the same time, the board is saddened and disturbed that Ms. Brady chose to violate the public trust and her responsibilities as a county employee by committing these acts."
Investigators say Brady got advances from DSS to purchase Christmas gifts for low income families through the Giving Tree fund. They say she then used the money herself, even paying off her credit card bills.
Brady faces as many as 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the three federal criminal counts against her. Because of her alleged actions, the county is reorganizing how it handles its finances.