Police discovered that Michelle DeMauro, a 48-year old from Revere, Massachusetts, had been embezzling cash from the nonprofit where she once worked as president. She used tens of thousands of dollars of the nonprofit’s money. The worst part? The nonprofit was called the Revere League for Special Needs.
The organization is built to keep kids with special needs safe, and to increase education of those who care for them. Workers are all volunteers. No one receives monetary compensation for the work they do.
DeMauro seems intent on proclaiming her innocence. She said that it was all a misunderstanding based on: “Very bad bookkeeping. Very, very bad bookkeeping.”
Her indictment was for two counts of larceny over $1,200 and another two counts of obtaining a signature under false pretenses.
Attorney General Maura Healey said that DeMauro used at least $42,000 to pay for expenses like home improvement, electronics, and gift cards, and that at least a few of her purchases used the non-profit status to dodge taxes.
DeMauro said she thinks the whole thing is fabricated: “I don’t even know where they got $42,000. That’s a made up number.”
According to an online profile, the “Revere League for the Retarded, Inc.” was also headed by DeMauro before its non-profit tax exempt status was revoked by the IRS. Apparently the organization failed to file the correct tax forms for at least three consecutive years and is currently under investigation.
The nonprofit’s mission statement says: “Care for the mentally impaired thru travel/entertainment/social functions, etc.”
Interested in giving special needs organizations and nonprofits a better name? Here are a few that are looking for help and/or donations:
Easter Seals provides help for both children and adults who suffer from disabilities or special needs. They cater to children, senior, and vets with targeted therapy and education.
The Arc provides information and referrals to employment, residential, and recreational programs for intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, Fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, etc.
Friendship Circle International is a Jewish organization dedicated to kids who are growing up with special needs, and runs 80 locations around the globe. It utilizes teenage volunteers in an effort to cultivate peer understanding and diverse, mutually beneficial relationships between kids in different walks of life.
Goodwill Industries International helps out with financially coaching and educating anyone with special needs, young or old — even if those people have criminal backgrounds. Their mission is to cultivate understanding throughout the community.