PITTSBURGH - The former executive director of the Parkinson Foundation of Western Pennsylvania has been charged with stealing about $28,000 from the organization.
Barbara Farrell surrendered Monday morning and was given non-monetary bond, according to the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.
In February, a meeting was held about concerns over fraudulent invoices and checks paid by the foundation, a criminal complaint said.
During the meeting, it was learned than an employee found 18 suspicious invoices in December that had been dated between Sept. 11, 2017 and Jan. 26, 2018, the complaint said. They totaled about $14,000 and were all under $1,000.
The invoices indicated a woman was paid $20 per hour, but the description of the work was vague, the complaint said. It was later determined that the woman was Farrell’s babysitter and family friend.
Farrell claimed the woman “was doing shadowing work remotely on the Parkinson’s Foundation software,” but could provide “little, if any explanation as to what work was done,” according to the complaint.
Farrell also claimed the woman did not have a bank account, so she cashed checks for her, police said.
Further investigation found that on seven different occasions, flower arrangements totaling more than $1,000 were ordered in the name of the Parkinson Foundation. However, the majority of the orders were delivered to Farrell’s home, and the others were for her benefit, the complaint said.
Additional purchases totaling nearly $10,000 were made on Amazon and charged to a Parkinson Foundation card. The purchased items -- the majority of which were shipped to Farrell’s home -- included women’s clothing, women’s shoes, children’s items, books, furniture, electronics and health and beauty items.
Farrell is charged with theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29.
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