Former FOSEK Treasurer Arraigned on Embezzlement Charges

LaShanta Magnusson charged with stealing more than $5,000

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.

Brenda C. November 07, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Dear No One, How can you gauge a TRUE friend? Have true friends stolen from your or your children? Have true friends taken money from children with special educational needs to go and party with that money? Give me a break! In retrospect, I should have seen her for what she really is: A whiner, I liar, a person with an alcohol issue and a thief. There you have it! She is one of those very same people that she used to denounce all the time, Yep, I know personally...she always had things to say about people battling a vice. She is no better. Personally, I will be there on Jaunary 11, at her court date and every other court date. Hoping and praying that the judges makes her accountable and decides to take a stand and use her as a model for future swindlers. In other words, I hope she gets some jail time.
someone else November 07, 2012 at 08:57 PM
You are definitely right Brenda...it's just sad, but I have to say I do hope they make an example and not just let her off with probation and being able to make payments
Honest Joe November 08, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Wow, talk about airing dirty laundry in a public forum for the whole world to see. I sure am glad that I am not affiliated with or know any of the stone throwers based upon the nasty comments being displayed here. and NO, I do not know or have ever met the accused. I pray nothing like this ever happens to you or anyone in your family, cause you know the old saying......"Karma's a bitch"
Bill Gilman (Editor) November 08, 2012 at 02:22 AM
OK guys, easy does it please. This is a volatile, emotional issue. And there are LOTS of kids involved in one way or another. Lets set a good example and try to keep the personal attacks out of this.
geo November 10, 2012 at 01:38 AM
let'skeep in mind it's the children and families involved in the programs that are paying the ultimate price. The volunteers stand by their players, parents, volunteers, andpresent board members. Its about the children and nothing else.
Brenda C. November 10, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Oh Bill, it is not a personal attack... Just what Karma and I know first hand about the accused. Geo, yes the kids have suffered at someones underhandedness and dishonesty. I think what Karma and I are getting at that not all of you understand is that we saw how she spent money like water on fun and conveniences and it is completely disgusting. So, instead of accusing us of personal attacks, try to understand that we were duped to on a very personal level.
Honest Joe November 10, 2012 at 07:45 AM
Ok Brenda, I think we get it by now. No need to go on and on and on about the samething over and over and over again.....enough already!
Karma November 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM
so stop reading Honest Joe and move on to comment about some other article. When you see someone spend recklessly...talk crap about everyone like she is untouchable, and act like she is the best Mom in the world....and then it all crashes down because she is a fraud then you better believe I am going to say something! I , and people I know, were attacked by this vile thing and glad it came back to get her!
Honest Joe November 10, 2012 at 05:09 PM
ok Karma, keep on repeating yourself if it makes you feel better!
Karma November 10, 2012 at 10:49 PM
ok Honest Joe....you can stop reading the truth and the facts about her and move on. I will be interested to see what you have to say when she is convicted or cops a plea! I will be waiting patiently.
Honest Joe November 11, 2012 at 12:42 AM
I could really care less about her Karma. Like I said I don't know the accused, and am not affiliated with any of you! I'm just tired of reading all of this dirtly laundry that is being displayed because it is inappropriate for this forum. I am also thinking of the innocent victims, among them her family.
Karma November 11, 2012 at 01:05 AM
then stop reading it.....you seem to be VERY interested in the whole sordid affair...its the thief who should have thought of the innocent victims...don't you think?
Brenda C. November 11, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Karma, you know what? People are not interested in the truth. It's sort of funny. Everyone has an opinion..but when there are others that know truth about a particular situation (like you and I do), people dont want to hear it because they cannot add to it. I will speak for myself here. I am entitled to my opinion and yes, I have knowlege of what actually occured in this situation I know how she led her life. I am sure if Honest Joe, or Bill Gilman or any of the other people knew the accused first hand and how she is, we would not be facing such opposition. Where I do agree that there are innocent victims, the accused should have thought about the fallout should she get caught.
Honest Joe November 11, 2012 at 01:20 PM
And the fallout is the judgement and wrath from you two? My cause has nothing to do with not wanting to hear the truth, but the fact that it is being repeated over and over again. Obviously you two just don't get it. I rest my case!
Jane Dough November 17, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Not sure how conversations moved from that of an allegation of theft to an attack of the management of FOSEK. If you look at where they started and what they have achieved and are now doing it proves only that Karma must have a personal cross to bare agains Messina & Brown. Neither draw sallaries and all are volunteers. Perhaps you should look more into the organization - use your time wisely and perhaps volunteer in lieu of spending time with rants here. Do something more positive like paying it forward instead of trying to drive the Karma bus,
getfacts December 12, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Thanks Honest Joe ... these girls are just inconsiderate garbage. They just wanna hear themselves over and over repleating their vulgar words. Your comment about being a true friend was very nice and totally true. They keep saying things about her poor children and poor mother yet they are showing by these public comments and name calling they dont care about the hurt they cause. People make mistakes all the time and many have skeletons ... and the way they are talking about karma....the actions and horrible words these so called humans are using may just come back around to take a bite out of their buttocks lol ... They need to leave this girls family alone and stop bashing her so the family can see. They are causing the hurt there and it is wrong. But it sounds to me like they have their heads way too far up their butts to care or notice what they are doing wrong. Two wrongs dont make a right. Thanks for speaking up so elegantly.
Honest Joe December 12, 2012 at 04:57 AM
Getfacts, no kuddo's to me regarding a true friend, that was "someone else" that said that. But thanks for the kind words. Let's just hope this doesn't spark it up all over again.
Be Better December 24, 2012 at 04:45 PM
When have we stopped holding our friends accountable to be better people? Those who continue to defend Lashanta just feed into her bad behavior and watch her continue to spiral downward. Those who challenge her to be a better person are her true friends. She has stolen money from a charity, had several cars repossesed, has lived off her elderly mother (at 34 years old!), all while spending money recklessley drinking a couple nights per week. Buying drinks for "friends" when you fail to meet your obligations? Drinking a couple nights per week when your young children are home? Cannot keep a job due to this behavior? Blames everyone else whenever she has a problem that she created? Where is the accountability? If you were true friends you would challenge her to be better than she is. If you are fake friends (probably getting free drinks) you will continue to encourage her to spiral down the road she is going down. Do you "friends" believe in her? Do you think she can be better or do you think this pathetic life is the best she can do? Deep down she is not a bad person. She can get her life together if she takes accountability for her actions and begins to act as a responsible adult. She need to stop claiming to be a victim and take responsibility for her actions I believe in her and will hold her to a higher standard.
Karma is a bitch January 10, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Well folks, tomorrow is the big day, let's just see what happens. Jail or probation? bet's anyone?
Shawtek1997 January 11, 2013 at 01:52 AM
Here is my guess on what will happen. She will arrange to borrow the money and pay back the charity, FOSEK will drop the charges, and the swindler will get off easy. She will never pay the borrowed money back and will continue to lead a pathetic lifestyle. She lives off the hard work of other people. Be Better is correct, I have seen her out drinking on many occassions. How can someone spend so much money drinking a couple of times per week when they cannot even pay to take care of their own responsibilities and their children? She THINKS that she is a great mother, but her children will clearly see her true colors. She may get off easy this time but her destructive behavior will eventually catch up with her.
Going Nowhere January 11, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Shawtek, you are right. Her life is a mess. Just google her name and check her out on Facebook. Anyone spending that much time on a computerand out partying has no time for her kids. Most people move on after graduating from high school. Not much has changed in HER life since that time. I feel bad for her kids and whoever gave her the money to pay back FOSEK. God knows they'll never see a penny of it again and she'll be out drinking this weekend laughing at the poor sucker.
Shawtek1997 January 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Going Nowhere, you are also right. It is absolutely amazing that a 34 year old "grown " woman continues to act like a 17 year old high school student. You can see her work record online - She cannot hold a job! She puts her life information online for everyone to see (and it really is pathetic). I would be absolutely embarrassed if I were her. I would stop drinking and partying, get a job, teach my kids how to be good adults, and stop living off of the hard work of others. Is that too much to ask?
EYES ARE EVERYWHERE January 18, 2013 at 02:01 PM
geo January 25, 2013 at 07:36 PM
Too bad no money has been returned to FOSEK. Dispite whar she did, the kids are still getting their programs. thank you, Vini, Den. and Ben for your continued dedication to the children and FOSEK. I'm glad someine is looking out for the kids and not the publicity or fame.
connie February 08, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Financial difficulties???? She lives in a house for FREE, collects child support, gets government assistance for food and works part time. Financial difficulties!? Her discovery /toys page says it supports her lifesytle. financial diffuculties my @#$!
Bob February 08, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Geo - Who is looking "for publicity or fame"?
T M March 05, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Geo, Now that FOSEK has dissolved..how are the kids still getting the programs they are enrolled in?
Robert Gill March 05, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Tammy, we hope Liam Nation will continue them as they have promised. I have reached out to them and will continue to remain involved as long as I feel the focus is the kids.
Blue Jeans March 06, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Hold the phone! Does this mean she's going to get off without some type of restitution????? When did FOSEK dissolve???? $5,000 is alot of money to just let someone walk away with....
Robert Gill March 06, 2013 at 03:28 PM
I hope that was considered before they dissolved. According to the email sent out, the vote to dissolve was Feb. 8. 2013


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