Inside INdiana Business

Former ECHO Director sentenced for embezzlement

(WISH Photo, File)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A former executive director of Evansville-based nonprofit ECHO Housing Corp. has been sentenced after embezzling more than $100,000 over a three-year period. Stephanie TenBarge of Evansville was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay more than $90,000 in restitution.

Acting U.S. Attorney John Childress says TenBarge was responsible for bookkeeping, balancing bank statements and preparing finance reports for board approval for the nonprofit. Childress says TenBarge controlled the checking accounts and could direct organizational funds to herself and others.

Childress says from January 2015 to December 2017, TenBarge embezzled the money by making unauthorized payments to herself and used ECHO funds to pay her personal property taxes, pay for a heat pump for her home, and paid crews for maintenance work on her home and property.

Childress says during this time, ECHO received federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Ms. TenBarge abused her official position to pad her pockets with taxpayer funds for nothing more than simple greed and, in doing so, victimized those she should have been serving,” said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue our mission to root out public officials who commit federal crimes and ensure they are held accountable for their actions.”

TenBarge stepped down from ECHO in March 2018 and was indicted on theft charges nearly a year later.