Thousands go missing from alumni scholarship fund - WSMV News 4

Thousands go missing from alumni scholarship fund

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A scholarship fund meant to help local students is now out of cash, and it's all because a bookkeeper admitted to spending the money on everything from Victoria's Secret to private trips.

"I've donated thousands of dollars," said Ronnie Johnson, member of the Cameron High School Alumni Association. "How in the hell did we let this happen?"

Johnson is angry. Big money he and others donated for college scholarships has been stolen.

Each year, the alumni non-profit hosts fundraisers, and graduates give generously.

But when a $15 check from the group's account recently bounced, Johnson started raising serious questions and pulled bank statements, finding roughly $17,000 missing from the past three years.

"It's embarrassing. And as a matter of fact, even this year, we're running short on scholarship money," said Shirley Johnson, another member of the alumni group.

It turns out the group's treasurer pocketed most of the money. In a letter, she admitted taking $8,000, because her son lost his disability, which she said put her in a hard position.

However, some alumni say her expenses don't point to someone struggling.

"Victoria's Secret, fast food shops, airplane tickets," Ronnie Johnson said.

While the treasurer agreed to pay back the money, several months have passed and she hasn't.

That means there may be no scholarship money to share this year.

"There needs to be some guidelines on how she can pay this money back. If not, we have to take it to the next level," Shirley Johnson said.

Ronnie Johnson said now the alumni group is at odds, as some want the treasurer prosecuted while others, he said, seem to want to sweep it all under the rug.

"I would have gone and had her arrested. Then if she wanted to make restitution, she could have made restitution. But it needs to be known that you can't do this," Ronnie Johnson said.

The treasurer has since resigned from her position, and Channel 4 News was unable to reach her for comment on this story.

Neither the alumni board's president nor former president wanted to comment.

Channel 4 is not releasing the accused woman's name because she hasn't been charged with a crime.

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