CHRISTIANSTED — A St. Croix bookkeeper admitted in federal court that she stole $85,510 in charitable donations intended for the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix in 2014 and 2015.
Kira Lee Encarnacion, 41, of St. Croix pled guilty on July 26 in U.S. District Court to one count of federal program theft, United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.
According to court documents, from November 2014, through May 2015, Encarnacion was employed as a bookkeeper with the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix (WCSC).
As the bookkeeper, Encarnacion’s duties included issuing legitimate payments to vendors in support of the organization’s functions, using an accounting software program.
However, during this period, she fraudulently caused 39 WCSC checks to be issued to herself, totaling $85,510.
Encarnacion disguised the checks in the accounting software program as payments to legitimate vendors of WCSC.
Encarnacion then deposited the checks into her personal bank account and used the funds to pay for personal matters.
WCSC receives in excess of $10,000 a year in federal grants and benefits, which gave rise to the federal prosecution.
This offense carries a possible sentence of incarceration of up to 10 years, a maximum fine of up to $250,000 dollars, and a term of supervised release up to three years.
Sentencing for Encarnacion is set for November 27.
“The FBI needs to investigate how many times the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix has ‘torched’ it’s buildings here to destroy its records since 1988,” Lennox R. wrote to the V.I. Freep. “Now, when a Crucian person is accused of stealing, she is brought to justice. But how many times has the WCSC skated because there was not a Gretchen C.F. Shappert to bring these female scalawags to justice? There is more here than meats the eye.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel H. Huston prosecuted the case.