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Hunter files charity fraud charges against former president of Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa

Ponca City Now - August 22, 2018 2:05 pm

TULSA – Attorney General Mike Hunter on Wednesday charged a former board president of the Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa for allegedly embezzling money from the organization.

Jamie Harper faces 19 counts of embezzlement and one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses after an investigation by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit.

A complaint filed by a member of the organization’s board led to the investigation. The complaint alleged Harper was making misrepresentations regarding finances to the organization’s board members and claimed they also found financial inconsistencies.

“The facts of this case are disheartening,” Hunter said. “Harper was entrusted to provide leadership and to ensure the money donated to the organization was going to enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome, not enrich herself. My office will not tolerate anyone who tries to take advantage of charities that provide vital resources to those in need or defraud those who want to support that mission.

“I am proud of the collaboration between the board members of the Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa and our team that enabled the bringing of these charges. We will do everything we can to ensure this money is returned to benefit those who need it.”

Interviews with former board members revealed Harper was the only individual with access to the organization’s bank accounts and post office box, giving her sole control of the finances.

A review of Harper’s personal bank records shows that during her time as president of the organization she deposited 25 checks made payable to the Down Syndrome Association of Tulsa, totaling more than $9,000, into her personal account. Interviews with several individuals who wrote the checks confirmed to investigators they intended for the funds to go to the organization, not to Harper.

If convicted, she faces fines and prison time.

All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

 

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