A former chief financial officer accused of stealing more than $280,000 from YWCA Oklahoma City was charged with embezzlement Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court.
Shannon Marie Rickards, 41, of Oklahoma City, admitted to charity executives and investigators that she transferred ownership of two bank cards to her name to steal funds, court records show.
One of those cards was issued to Jan Peery, chief executive officer of YWCA Oklahoma City, records show.
Rickards is accused of embezzling $281,410 between October 2010 and January 2013, according to a probable cause affidavit.
All the embezzled money came from revenues generated by Our Sisters' Closet, a resale store at 2209 W Interstate 240 Service Road.
The store accepts donated clothing and resells items to support YWCA programs, including crisis services for battered women and children.
Some of the donated clothing also is given directly to battered women and children who seek YWCA assistance when fleeing violent situations.
Rickards told investigators she used the cards at automated teller machines to withdraw funds from an account that belonged to the resale shop. Security footage shows Rickards using the cards at ATMs inside gambling facilities, prosecutors said. She also admitted to altering bank statements to cover up the embezzlement.
“Those who seek to take advantage of a charity must be held accountable,” said state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose office is prosecuting the case. “Unfortunately, a crime like this can harm a reputable charity like the YWCA and its staff who work diligently to serve the needs of women and children in our communities.”
YWCA Oklahoma City focuses on combating domestic violence and sexual assault. It operates a certified shelter for battered women and children in Oklahoma County.
The organization is projecting revenues of $3.4 million for the 2012-13 fiscal year, excluding money received through its capital campaign, records show.
The $15 million capital campaign seeks to raise funds for a new Oklahoma County shelter for victims of domestic violence.