The organisation is in the middle of getting its Not For Profit Status, but has not opened its doors since January 1st 2014 because several thousand dollars have gone missing from funds raised last year.
Founder Rosemary Pena Watts, who started the organization in 2012, has decided not to pursue criminal charges. Ms Watts told the Advocate that she should have been more on top of the situation when it arose.
According to the story reported today in the Victoria Advocate, a total of around $2,000 has disappeared from the walk 4 autism fund, a sponsored walk the organisation organised and during a sponsored 5K run, several thousand of the total $5,000 raised also “disappeared”.
Ms.Watts told reporter J.R. Ortega that the trouble started in September when a volunteer was suspected of stealing funds. She further adds that when the amounts collected were not matching up to the amount shown on bank records she then began to question the person. When the volunteer was confronted by Ms. Watts, she denied the allegations. However receipts that Rosemary found did show money from the account being used on the volunteer’s groceries, diapers and family trips.
As a Not For Profit organisation employees and volunteers are asked to hold on to receipts of any expenditure, and be completely transparent, unfortunately one of the volunteers with the organisation did not do this, causing an anomaly in accounting.
Clifford Grimes, executive director of United Way in Victoria told the Advocate:
“Organisations need to be transparent, the public will have a lot of questions.”