Two women in charge of a domestic violence shelter in Washington Court House were arrested today. Law enforcement said the pair took part in a “selfish scheme” to steal money intended to help those in need. Instead, the two went on spending sprees.
Among their alleged purchases:
- Disney World and Universal Studios Trip
According to David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, “They allegedly achieved their objective by misusing debit cards connected to shelter accounts for personal purchases at restaurants, auctions, craft stores, and bowling alleys among other places – including purchases made when few, if any, victims lived at the shelter.”
Former Director and Bookkeeper Arrested
Agents arrested Crystal Chrisman, 52, the former executive director of My Sister’s House at her Columbus home. Former bookkeeper, Jamie Cardinal, 44, was arrested in Washington Courthouse.
The pair were taken to Federal Court in Cincinnati to face Judge Stephanie Bowman.
“The indictment alleges that the purpose of the conspiracy was for the defendants to unlawfully enrich themselves by converting funds intended for the shelter to their personal use,” said DeVillers. The activity took place between January 2014 and October 2016.
Each defendant is charged with:
- Conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds
- Theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.
If the women are convicted, they could spend up to 15 years behind bars and face up to $500,000 in fines. The court could also order them to pay full restitution and forfeit anything purchased with stolen funds.
Special Agent William Hannah said the two took Department of Justice money intended to help domestic violence victims and spent it on themselves. “We will continue to root out these kinds of selfish schemes.”
My Sister’s house received more than $10,000 in federal grant funds each year. The grants were intended for staff salaries, shelter supplies, and shelter maintenance.