Florida woman charged with forgery after probe into missing money at Lowcountry charity

Florida woman charged with forgery after probe into missing money at Lowcountry charity

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A Florida woman is facing a charge of forgery after a South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division investigation into missing money from a Lowcountry charity.

Joyce Fotheringham, 56, is charged with forgery of $10,000 or more, a felony that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a fine or both, upon conviction, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said.

Investigators said Fotheringham falsified grant documents in excess of $50,000 between January 2010 and January 2012 while she was an employed at the at the organization. The falsification may not have been limited to those dates, the affidavit states.

Investigators say she presented records for reimbursement for grant funds to the executive director of the organization for expenses that were not paid.

The facts to establish the charge were based on an examination of statements, financial records and grant documentation, the affidavit states.

"On one hand, it could be gross negligence and the other it could be down right stealing; we're leaning towards the latter," Mike Roach, PAR's then-Board Chairman, said at the time of the investigation. Roach asked the Charleston County Legislative Delegation for help after revealing the organization had about $500 in its bank account.

The discovery of missing funds prompted Roach and other board members to contact the IRS to perform an audit, but grant money from the Department of Public Safety was suspended until the audit could be completed.

At the time, PAR's annual budget was estimated at approximately $400,000 with grant money accounting for approximately $300,000 of that figure.

The organization is a 501(c)(3) charity which assists approximately 1,000 rape victims every year, offering free confidential services to adult survivors of sexual assault in the Tri-County area. Those services include a 24-hour hotline and accompanying sexual assault victims to hospitals during forensic exams and with law enforcement or court appearances, according to its website.

Fotheringham was booked at the Charleston County Detention Center, Berry said.

The Ninth Circuit Solicitor's Office will prosecute the case, he said.

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