YWCA Oklahoma City officials say a former employee embezzled about $280,000 from revenues generated by a resale store that sells used clothing to aid battered women.
The embezzlement did not occur at the store, but involved revenues from the store, YWCA officials said.
The employee suspected of embezzlement has been terminated, said Jan Peery, chief executive officer of YWCA Oklahoma City.
Evidence was turned over to the state attorney general Tuesday for investigation and possible filing of criminal charges, she said.
Peery declined to identify the suspect. No arrest has been made.
Diane Clay, spokeswoman for Attorney General Scott Pruitt, said her agency's policy is not to comment on pending investigations.
The YWCA plans to file a lawsuit to try to recover embezzled funds, YWCA officials said.
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, Peery said.
Some of the donated clothing also is given directly to battered women and children who seek YWCA assistance when fleeing violent situations.
Peery said the embezzlement occurred “over a period of time,” but she declined to disclose the length of time for fear of interfering with the investigation. The store opened in April 2007.
Our Sisters' Closet used to operate another store in Edmond, but it is closed. Officials declined to say whether all the revenues that were embezzled were generated by the south Oklahoma City store.
“We will continue on with all of our services ... . It will just make it a little tougher,” Peery said.
She emphasized that none of the missing funds came from the organization's capital campaign contributions, grants, charitable contributions or private donations.
“The YWCA management and board of directors place top priority on fiscal responsibility and financial transparency, and although we have strict financial policies and procedures in place to prevent the misuse of our funds, we have been the victim of embezzlement,” Peery said.
She said the YWCA recently instituted additional internal policies and controls for its retail operations.
“We are confident these controls will prevent this from occurring in the future,” she said.
“The store is still in operation,” she said. “It's been difficult on their staff, but we're committed to looking on the bright side. We know that store is going to be … profitable in the future.”
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.
The $15 million capital campaign seeks to raise funds for a new Oklahoma County shelter for victims of domestic violence.