Former YWCA employee admits embezzlement

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OKLAHOMA CITY – The former chief financial officer for the YWCA Oklahoma City is accused of embezzling over $280,000 from the organization.

In an affidavit, investigators said Shannon Rickards, 41, admitted to taking the money between October 2010 and January 2013.

The YWCA said Rickards was in charge of all the finances and manipulated the records to conceal that the money was missing.

“We work with victims of crime so we know the impact and it is pretty devastating when it is somebody that you know,” YWCA CEO Janet Peery said

According to investigators, Rickards withdrew the money from ATM machines using debit cards.

The money was withdrawn from a bank account for the Our Sisters’ Closet store owned by the YWCA.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office released its findings from the investigation Thursday afternoon.

“Those who seek to take advantage of a charity must be held accountable,” Attorney General Scott Pruitt said. “Unfortunately, a crime like this can harm a reputable charity like the YWCA and its staff who work diligently to serve the needs of women and children in our communities.”

The organization started investigating after an official noticed an unauthorized withdrawal of $500.

Investigators said Rickards admitted to taking the money and then revealed that she stole between $150,000 and $200,000 from the bank account.

Investigators later discovered that it was closer to $280,000.

Rickards spent five years with the YWCA, Peery said.

She was terminated shortly after the allegations surfaced, according to court records.

News Channel 4 attempted to contact Rickards at her listed address.

Neighbors said she no longer lives there.

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