Former Executive Director of Non-Profit Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Embezzling More Than $123,000 From Organization
BOSTON – The former director of a Boston non-profit organization has pleaded guilty and has been sentenced in connection with stealing more than $120,000 from the organization for her own benefit, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today.
Valerie Tebbetts, age 54, formerly of Dorchester, pleaded guilty to charges of Larceny by Embezzlement over $250 (3 counts), and False Entries in Corporate Books. After the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced Tebbetts to five years probation and ordered her to pay $123,500 in restitution. Tebbetts is further required to seek continued treatment for gambling addiction, to stay away from casinos and is prohibited from playing the lottery.
“The defendant engaged in a continuous scheme to defraud a non-profit organization providing vital services of hundreds of thousands of dollars for her own personal use,” AG Coakley said. “This sentence will ensure that restitution is paid back to the non-profit and will continue to hold the defendant accountable for her actions.”
In November 2010, the AG’s Office began an investigation after Tebbetts’s activities were initially referred and investigated by the organization. From approximately September 2008 to November 2010, Tebbetts served as the executive director of the local non-profit which serves the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS.
In November 2010, the organization’s board members learned that Tebbetts made numerous unauthorized cash withdrawals from the non-profit’s savings account during her tenure as executive director. Tebbetts was immediately terminated by the organization and the matter was then referred to the AG’s Office for prosecution. Investigators discovered that in addition, Tebbetts stole thousands of dollars from the organization by producing checks from the organization’s account, made payable to her landlord for her personal rent and made payable to herself for her personal use. In order to hide her activities from the organization Tebbetts made numerous false entries in its accounting program to conceal the thefts. Tebbetts stole more than $123,000 by using this fraudulent scheme.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Tebbetts on June 16, 2011. Tebbetts was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on July 8 where she pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Today, Tebbetts pleaded guilty, was sentenced and ordered to pay restitution.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gillian Feiner of AG Coakley’s Fraud and Financial Crimes Division and was investigated by Investigator Kevin Cwirka of AG Coakley’s Financial Investigations Division. Massachusetts State Police assigned to the AG’s Office also assisted in the investigation.