Federal authorities say Speedway woman stole $450,000 from charity

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A central Indiana woman faces federal charges after authorities say she pocketed donations meant for a charitable foundation.

The United States Department of Justice Southern District of Indiana’s U.S. Attorney’s Office said the charges come after a multi-year scheme where the Speedway resident allegedly stole more than $450,000 from Zeta Tau Alpha.

Authorities arrested Christiana Short, 43 of Speedway Thursday on a wire fraud charge. Police say the charge comes after she stole donations. She also allegedly altered the ZTA Foundation’s donation database.

The office alleges the thefts started in 2012. Short reportedly pocketed several donations sent to the foundation. She would alter the “pay to” information and deposit them in one of her bank accounts.

By 2016, federal authorities say she would steal more than 150 donations per year.

Federal authorities caught on to the scheme in late 2018. A fraud examiner noticed apparently doctored money orders deposited into her account.

The bank notified the foundation, and members investigated the matter, terminating Short’s employment.

“Charities serve a critical role in our society. Those who donate should feel secure in knowing their funds will go where intended,” said Minkler. “And those who choose to steal should likewise know that they will be caught, prosecuted, and held accountable in court.”

If convicted, Short faces up to 20 years in prison on each charge and payment of full restitution.

The investigation is ongoing as of the time of this report.

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