BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — A California woman who was a longtime resident of Massachusetts has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a scheme to steal funds from a Charlestown non-profit where she previously had worked, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
On Tuesday, Donna Scott, age 52, of Vallejo, California, pleaded guilty in Suffolk Superior Court via Zoom to the charge of Larceny over $250 (1 count). Following the plea, Judge Peter Krupp sentenced her to three years of probation, with home confinement and GPS monitoring for the first year. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $45,132.59 to the nonprofit organization that she embezzled from – Heading Home, Inc.
The charges resulted from a joint investigation by the AG’s Office and the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General.
“Our state’s nonprofits work hard to help residents in Massachusetts and should not be taken advantage of by employees looking to abuse their positions for personal gain,” said AG Healey. “We are pleased that these funds will be returned to Heading Home, Inc. so that it can continue its mission of helping low-income families find housing and receive support.”
“Donna Scott was entrusted to help the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents find stable housing,” said Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha. “Instead, she diverted public funds to enrich herself and her family members. We thank Heading Home for alerting our office to her theft and cooperating with our joint investigation to hold Ms. Scott accountable.”
An investigation by the AG’s Office revealed that from March 2015 through November 2016, Scott embezzled more than $45,000 dollars from Heading Home Inc, a non-profit housing agency primarily funded by state grants. At the time, Scott had been working for the agency as a program manager focusing on housing and stabilization issues. The funds that Scott stole – and used to purchase gift cards and pay personal bills – were intended to provide transitional and permanent housing and support services to low-income, homeless and formerly homeless people and their families.
Scott was indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury in September 2019. She was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court in October 2019.
The AG’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division investigates and prosecutes serious criminal misconduct involving crimes against public agencies, corrupt public employees and public entities, crimes that have a harmful effect on public confidence in our government and other trusted institutions, and financial crimes.
In the AG’s Office, this matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Rontear Farmer and Kelsey Force, with assistance from former Financial Investigator Anthony Taylor. The Office of the Inspector General referred this matter to the AG’s Office and their investigators, Diane Volpe and Will Bradford provided valuable assistance in this investigation.