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Social Worker Embezzles from Abused Children

July 27, 2010 permalink

Colorado Social worker Cheryl Fugett founded and operated a charity for abused children called the Jefferson County Children's Alliance. It was awarded $100,000 in public funds, at least $20,000 of which was applied to her dental work, repairing her roof, pool and hot tub repairs, her daughter's summer tuition and paying off her personal credit cards..



Woman Who Stole From Abused Children Sentenced

Cheryl Fugett Convicted Of Stealing $20K From JeffCo Children's Alliance

Cheryl Fugett
Cheryl Fugett

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- A Lakewood woman who stole at least $20,000 from a program for abused children was sentenced Monday to two years in a jail work-release program.

Cheryl Fugett, the former executive director of the Jefferson County Children's Alliance, was also sentenced to 10 years probation by Jefferson County District Court Judge Philip McNulty.

The 60-year-old Fugett, a social worker, was convicted last month of stealing at least $20,000 from the nonprofit agency she founded in 1993 to provide counseling and specialized investigators for children who had been sexually and physically abuse.

Prosecutors said she used the JCCA’s funds to pay more than $5,000 for personal dental work, $1,400 for home roof repair and $1,000 for pool and hot tub repairs at her home. She also used the money to pay more than $700 for her daughter’s summer tuition at Colorado State University.

In addition, Fugett wrote over $5,000 in checks on the JCCA’s accounts toward paying off her personal credit cards, prosecutors said.

Because many financial records were missing, Jefferson County district attorney spokesman Pam Russell said, prosecutors could only prove $20,000 was stolen.

"We believe that the losses were far greater," she said.

The Childrens' Alliance had been awarded $100,000 in public funds from criminal bail fees to build a new facility, Russell said.

"None of that money ever got spent on the capital (building) project," Russell said. "It got intermingled into the agency's general funds that ultimately Cheryl Fugett was spending."

That case had strange twists and turns.

Fugett was on the state's Top 50 Most Wanted list when she was arrested in Oregon last year. She posted bond and was allowed to come and go from her Lakewood home.

While not a lawyer, Fugett acted as her own attorney during trial.

She missed an early court date, then failed to make her own closing argument at trial, Russell said.

The jury found her guilty of two counts of forgery and eight counts of felony theft.

Lakewood Police found her after the closing arguments walking around her neighborhood and appearing disoriented. She was taken to the hospital to be evaluated.

Prosecutors raised concerns in court that Fugett was suicidal, Russell said.

But the defendant denied that. Fugett said she had lost track of time while preparing her closing argument and had taken pain medication for muscle spasms.

The Children's Alliance closed and Ralston House, another organization that helps abused kids, took over its case load and remaining assets.

Source: KMGH Denver