Benton Co. nonprofit leaders charged with stealing more than $700K

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BENTON COUNTY, Tenn. — A woman and two of her daughters are facing theft charges after allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from a nonprofit agency they operated in Camden. Vivian Parker, CEO of ABC Nutrition Program, along with her daughters Lisa Carter and Tracy Coady, were indicted on theft charges Feb. 19 by the Benton County grand jury, according to a release from the Tennessee comptroller’s office. Camden residents who said they were familiar with the business are surprised about the investigation. “It’s very shocking to me that people were taking tax dollars and keeping it in the family and not doing what they say they’re doing,” Brannon Kee said. The three were indicted on one count of theft of property over $250,000 and one count of theft of property over $60,000, the release states. Only Coady and Carter have been charged at this point, according to deputies. Carter served as the program’s director of daycare centers and Coady served as director of daycare homes, according to the release. The ABC offices are located in the basement of Parker’s home. Investigators found the nonprofit agency had unauthorized disbursements totaling $732,702 between October 2008 and September 2014, the release states. According to the release, $605,978 of that amount was used for bonuses and extra pay for ABC managers and employees. The investigation also revealed $27,185 was spent on unauthorized construction and improvements to Parker’s home. “They’re repairing their home with my tax dollars? It’s not right. It’s not fair to any tax payer,” Kee said. Another $99,538 in unauthorized administrative disbursements were uncovered for the fiscal year of 2014, according to the release. The comptroller’s release mentions a lack of oversight by the Department of Human Services. “The results of this investigation are extremely troubling,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson states in the release. “Hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars have been misspent by this organization over a five-year period. This underscores the importance of effective program monitoring and oversight.” WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News went to the business Wednesday and knocked on the door. Women’s voices could be heard inside, but no one answered. An attorney representing Coady later showed up and also declined to comment.

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