Two Former Non-Profit Executives Face Theft Charges - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Two Former Non-Profit Executives Face Theft Charges

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PHILADELPHIA -

The U.S. Attorney says two former executives of a city non-profit stole tens of thousands of dollars which was supposed to help the homeless.

FOX 29 Investigates broke the story two years ago. Jeff Cole has the very latest.

It was a "tip" from a former worker at the charity SELF, Inc., which got us on the trail of the missing money.

Now, criminal charges have been brought.

It was the Winter of 2012 when FOX 29 Investigates asked Erica Brown, the former C.O.O. of the non-profit SELF Inc., if she used the charity's funds as her own.

Brown wouldn't talk, but American Express credit card receipts obtained by FOX 29 Investigates told the story of travel, lodging, pricey meals, groceries at Wawa, even UGG Boots brought by Brown on SELF, Inc.'s credit card.

The total charged to the non-profit focused on helping the homeless: more than $198,000.

Amy Kurland is Philadelphia's Inspector General. Her office investigated Brown and former Chief Program Officer, Nathaniel Robinson, which has now lead to federal criminal charges.

She says the money should have gone to the people who needed the help.

“These people are so needy, and SELF provided valuable services: lodging and drug counseling. That's not going to work if the people in the organization use the money for their own benefit,” said Kurland.

SELF, Inc. of Philadelphia is funded by millions in tax dollars.

Both Brown and Robinson left the organization back in 2010 and have paid back SELF about $74,000, combined.

Philadelphia's former Mayor Wilson Goode, brought in by SELF to clean up the mess, told FOX 29 two years ago this was wrong.

"Should not have happened. Should not have happened. Should not have happened in any way shape or manner," said Goode.

Brown has been charged by criminal information, which means a defendant will likely plead guilty before an indictment. Robinson has been indicted Both face a maximum of a decade in jail.

Brown's attorney, Mark Neff, was not in the office when FOX 29 called on Tuesday.  He told the inquirer: "They looked forward to resolving the case quickly." Inspector General Kurland also wants to look harder at taxpayer-funded non-profits.

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