Woman's shelter discovers money gone - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Woman's shelter discovers money gone

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Executive Director Silke Seeley Executive Director Silke Seeley

March 5, 2008

Albany -- Tens of thousands of dollars is missing from Albany's battered women's shelter, and the Liberty House has turned to the District Attorney's office for help.

 An accountant found "discrepancies" in the books during an end of the year review, and now their Board and Executive Director are asking if a criminal investigation is needed because of the missing money.

Liberty House Board Members say an accountant preparing W-2's and tax information for the employees of the battered women's shelter first spotted the discrepancy.

"I am devastated by this," Executive Director Silke Seeley said.

Thousands of dollars are missing and WALB News 10 has learned that a former employee is believed to have embezzled it.

Liberty House turned its investigation findings over to the District Attorney's Office. "We are trying to justify if funds were properly spent or not properly spent," said Board Member Bill Dorough.

The Liberty House has 14 employees, and a half million dollar a year budget. The Shelter serves battered families from 17 counties for 25 years, receiving federal and state grants as well as local donations.

"We have been and are good stewards of the funds that are entrusted to us, and this is all part of that process," Dorough said.

Board members say if an employee did steal money from the Shelter, they want them prosecuted.

Seeley said the Liberty House is not short of operating funds because of the missing money, and they will not have to turn away any families in need.  "Not at this moment. We are fine. We are paying our bills."

Dougherty Chief Assistant District Attorney Greg Edwards met with Liberty House officials and said he could not comment, but said that his office would look into the report.

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