Teacher Defrauds Non-profits of 0K To Fund Gambling Addiction

Teacher Defrauds Non-profits of $240K To Fund Gambling Addiction

27 Dec

A teacher from the US state of Georgia pleaded guilty last week to stealing more than $240,000 from various jobs, claiming the thefts were used to fund her gambling habit.

59-year-old Trenna Denise Trice from Columbus, Georgia, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 after admitting to defrauding the money from several companies, including two non-profit organisations.

An investigation into Trice was launched by the Inspector General of the FDIC in May 2019 after she racked up “hefty casino losses funded by an unknown income source.”

Her modest income as a teacher for the Muskogee County School District couldn’t account for the sums of money lost, and the investigation discovered she siphoned off donations in two other jobs.

Trice was a volunteer campaign coordinator for the Columbus branch of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), a role she held for more than a decade.

With responsibility for the UNCF’s fundraising activities, Trice’s role entailed collecting cash, credit card and check donations.

Investigating agents found that she had diverted smaller contributions to her own account, with a similar pattern of thefts from SAMARC, a non-profit that runs basketball camps for underprivileged kids, and the Georgia Dental Society.

The fraud included 109 checks and 265 credit card transactions, with estimates that Trice profited by over $240,000 from her illegal activities.

That figure includes $70,231 from the dental office and $162,044 from the UNCF, with Trice dismissed from both jobs due to “financial irregularities.”

Trice claimed to have a “crippling gambling addiction” when confronted about the multiple frauds, but prosecuting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary was unimpressed.

“Trenna Trice abused the trust of two non-profits, a small business and many individual citizens when she chose to steal money intended for others to fund her gambling addiction,” Leary stated. He added: “I commend the FDIC-OIG investigators who unravelled her web of lies through their extensive investigation. Our office, along with our law enforcement partners, will do everything in our power to bring fraudsters to justice.”

Trice will be sentenced in March 2022 and faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

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