Crime Watch 8

Woman who stole $450,000 from foundation receives 27 months in prison

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler (WISH TV, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A woman who worked for a national women’s college fraternity based in Carmel has been sentenced to 27 month in federal prison, prosecutors said Monday.

Christina Short, 43, of Speedway, had worked over 16 years as financial coordinator for the nonprofit foundation of Zeta Tau Alpha, which serves thousands of students in 170 college chapters and 200,000 alumnae. Judge Tanya Walton Pratt of the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis issued the sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Linder prosecuted the case.

Short is going to prison after stealing over $450,000. ZTA Foundation raises money for scholarships and educational opportunities for ZTA students and alumni, as well as for breast cancer awareness.

Short was ordered to repay the entire amount she stole, and, after sentencing, she made an initial payment of approximately $30,000.

A news release from federal prosecutors said, from 2012 to November 2018, Short perpetrated stole donations and deposited them into her own personal bank accounts. In all, she stole 816 donations on nearly 500 separate occasions for a total of $450,874.48. She used the money she stole primarily for personal expenses, such as restaurants, clothing, youth sports and vacations.

“Short would allegedly alter the ‘pay to’ information, making the money orders payable to herself, and then deposit them in one of her several bank accounts,” said a news release from U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler.

Short also adjusted the foundation’s records so chapters would know donors were recorded. Also, the donors continued to receive “thank you” cards and tax deduction information, the release said.

Short’s conduct was brought to light when a fraud examiner at her bank noticed what appeared to be doctored money orders deposited into her account, the release said.

Short will also serve three years of supervised release after her 27-month prison sentence.

The FBI and the Carmel Police Department investigated the case.

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