Atlanta NAACP accuses former executive, aide of $275K fraud
Atlanta NAACP leaders have accused former executive director Judith Withers-Hanson and an aide of stealing $275,000 over a six-year period, according to a police incident report.
The pair allegedly used credit cards to charge personal expenses including tuition, dental work, meals and furniture, the report said. They made false entries in the organization’s books to disguise the transactions.
From the police report:
Mr. Lonnie King and Ms. Louise Hornsby came to the Major Fraud Office to report that two former employees of the NAACP had stolen funds from the association through the use of fraudulently applied for American Express credit cards. It is reported that Judith Withers-Hanson, the former Executive Director of the Atlanta branch, and Saundra Douglass, former Administrative Assistant to Ms. Hanson, had applied for cards using the association’s credit but listing themselves as authorized users and obtained cards in their own names.
Over a period of almost 6 years, Hanson and Douglass used the cards for personal expenses, paid the bills using checks belonging to the association, and covered the usage by making false entries into the association’s accounting records. Some of the expenses paid involved personal dental work for both associates, college tuition, expensive meals and furniture purchases not for use by the association.
At the time of this report, the loss is estimated at $275,000.00.
The complaint to Atlanta police identified the suspects as Withers-Hanson and Saundra Douglass, her administrative assistant. Former branch president Lonnie King and Louise Hornsby, a former Atlanta city judge and prosecutor, filed the complaint.
Withers-Hanson was suspended in February, said the Rev. R.L. White, president of the Atlanta branch. Her employment status remains unresolved, White said, but “I don’t imagine there’ll be a job for her.”
“It came at a time when the new board was going in, and we have been determined not to let this affect what we’re about,” he said. “Obviously it’s something that we hate that happened, but we can’t let it detract from our goals.”
The Atlanta branch has an annual budget of about $400,000, he said.
Interim executive director Desmond Ables declined comment today.
Withers-Hanson joined the NAACP in 1998, succeeding longtime executive director Jondelle Johnson.