Royal Oak Daily Tribune (Michigan) - by Catherine Kavanaugh
Oak Park resident Laurie Moore, the founder and former executive director of the nonprofit domestic violence organization Looking for My Sister, pleaded guilty to fraud on Friday.
Moore, 47, admitted to the misappropriation of funds given to the organization through federal grants. As part of her plea, she will pay restitution costs totaling $83,133.
U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced the plea with the special agent in charge, John F. Oleskowicz of the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General.
Between 2007 and 2011, Looking for My Sister received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the federal government, including money from the STOP Violence against Women Formula Grant, the Comprehensive Domestic Violence Grant, and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) Grant.
The organization did use “significant amounts” of the funds for their intended purposes, McQuade said in a statement. However, Moore used some of the money to buy goods and services for her personal use and the use of her family.
“We take it very seriously when someone steals federal funds that were intended to address an important issue like domestic violence,” McQuade said. “We hope this prosecution will deter others from stealing federal funds.”
Oleskowicz added, “We are committed to protecting Department of Justice programs, and we will vigorously pursue those who fraudulently benefit from federal funds that were intended to help others.”
Moore faces up to 10 years in prison for the offense. She is scheduled to be sentenced April 20 before Judge Denise Page Hood.
As part of her plea, Moore has agreed to pay restitution to the Department of Justice in the amount of $64,514.35. In addition, she has agreed to pay restitution to the Social Security Administration in the amount of $18,618.50 for Social Security benefits she received to which she was not entitled.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis P. Gabel.