COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The former chief financial officer accused of stealing more than $200,000 from the YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus made her first court appearance this morning.
Donna Fiquett is facing one theft by taking charge, but the investigation into the alleged embezzlement continues.
For much of her Recorder’s Court hearing Monday Morning, Fiquett listened to the allegations that she stole $207,408.65 over three years as the CFO of the YMCA.
Judge Susan Henderson ordered Fiquett held on a bond that equaled the amount she allegedly stole. The case was bound over to the Superior Court.
Columbus Police Detective Sgt. Jane Edenfield says the investigation is continuing despite the fact that Fiquett is in custody.
“Mrs. Fiquett has worked for the YMCA, I believe 15 or 16 years and was the CFO for over 10,” Edenfield said. “So, there is a belief that there is some more as far as the length of time that the embezzlement occurred. And then, of course, there is more money involved. And if there are other cards, cash, or anything like that. Right now we are at $207,000 but we believe there is probably going to be more.”
An internal audit from Columbus accounting firm Robinson, Grimes & Company discovered the irregularities. The YMCA turned over the evidence to police in September, starting the criminal investigation.
Late Monday, the YMCA through attorney Carter P. Schondelmayer sent the following statement on behalf of YMCA CEO Chris Bryant and the organization.
“The YMCA is working closely with the Columbus Police Department, as the investigation into the actions of our former CFO’s credit card expenses is continuing,” the statement read. “We appreciate the efforts of our local law enforcement, as well as our auditors, Robinson Grimes. The YMCA has reviewed its internal financial controls and remains financially sound, all programs fully supported and focused on our mission to serve Columbus. This is an ongoing investigation, and we really cannot comment further.”
An arrest warrant was issued for Fiquett earlier this month. Police say Fiquett has not cooperated with the investigation.
“As far as cooperation, she had a lawyer from the beginning,” Edenfield said. “We contacted them as soon as we obtained an arrest warrant for her. And tried to work out turning herself in. She lived in Alabama. Obtained a warrant on the third, began calling the law firm, and 10 days later, I had finally gotten the U.S. Marshals involved. And they were able to get her into custody.”
Both the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley and the city of Columbus, through the Crime Prevention program, help fund the YMCA. The city has given the YMCA $55,000 in grants over the last three years. Crime Director Seth Brown tells WRBL the current $10,000 grant is on hold because of the embezzlement investigation.
United Way President and CEO Ben Moser says the non-profit agency received more than $250,000 in each of the last two years. That funding has not been impacted as of this time.
Fiquett’s attorney, Tyler Moffitt of LaGrange, declined to comment after Monday’s hearing.
The YMCA of Metropolitan Columbus has about 11,000 members that use three facilities, the John P. Thayer YMCA downtown, the D.A. Turner YMCA in north Columbus and a facility at Global Payments. The YMCA also operates a program center at the A.J. McClung facility on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.