A former member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Special Needs Kids (FOSEK) has been charged with stealing more than $5,000 from the organization.
LaShanta Magnusson, 34, of 41 Roper Lane, was arraigned on Thursday in Lowell District Court on one count of association officer embezzlement , according to Tewksbury Police.
Magnusson, who served as treasurer of the organization, allegedly embezzled a total of $5,152 in small amounts (over 100 transactions) dating back to 2010, according to police. She pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance.
FOSEK is a non-profit organization that offers athletics programs for special needs children, including tee-ball, kickball and soccer.
Tewksbury Police began their investigation back in September, after FOSEK board members reached out to them, having discovered discrepancies in their checking and savings bank account records. According to Tewksbury Police, a board member became suspicious following an incident where Ms. Magnusson had written a check out to a finance company for $640, which turned out to be a car loan payment for a car owned by Magnusson.
Detectives also discovered a payment was made to an auto shop in Westford in October of 2012 for $175 by Magnusson. The payment was allegedly made because Magnusson’s car had been towed by Westford Police for motor vehicle violations.
Under questioning by police, Magnusson allegedly confessed to the crimes and said she had been having financial difficulties in her life. She told officers she had used the money for personal expenses.
FOSEK President/CEO Vini Messina and Executive Director Debera Brown declined comment on the case.