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Duo’s theft from shelter needs harsh punishment

It takes a special kind of scum to steal money meant to help others. Yet if the allegations against Crystal Chrisman, 52, and Jaime Cardinal, 44, are true, that is exactly what the pair did, in cooking the books so that thousands upon thousands of dollars intended for use by a domestic violence shelter went into their pockets instead.

Chrisman was director and Cardinal was the bookkeeper for My Sister’s House, a domestic violence shelter in Washington Courthouse, Ohio. According to U. S. Attorney David DeVillers in the Southern District of Ohio, they allegedly used shelter money for personal expenses, including food, a trip to Disney World and Universal Studios for their daughters, and thousands of dollars in purchases from Avon, Thirty-One and iTunes.

Some of the money they are accused of stealing was federal Department of Justice funding. If they are convicted, the pair could be ordered to pay full restitution of the amounts allegedly stolen, forfeit any assets they bought with stolen funds and serve a term of supervised release. They may also be fined $250,000 per count.

William J. Hannah, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Chicago Field Office, said the feds will “continue to root out these kinds of selfish schemes.” Certainly we would hope they are getting help from those working with or aware of individuals who are pulling similar sleights of hand in using state or federal money — that would be OUR money — to benefit themselves or friends and family rather than the programs for which they were intended.

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