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FOSEK Board Releases Statement on Embezzlement Charges

Letter to families and volunteers refers to scandal as a "dark chapter" in the history of the organization.

The Board of Directors of Friends of Special Education Kids (FOSEK) has released what they say will be their only public comment on the embezzlement allegations against LaShanta Magnusson until the legal process has run its course.

The statement came in the form of a letter sent to families whose children participate in FOSEK programs, FOSEK volunteers, supporters and members on the media.

Magnusson, a 34-year-old Tewksbury mother of two and the former treasurer of FOSEK, was arraigned last week in Lowell District Court on charges she had stolen more than $5,100 in small increments starting in 2010. She pleaded "not guilty" to the charges, was released on her own recognizance and is due back in court in January.

The statement read as follows:

Dear FOSEK Families, Volunteers and Friends,

Over the next several weeks you will probably be hearing of an issue we have experienced on the Board of Directors of FOSEK. This information will come out via the media and the Tewksbury Police Department (TPD). We feel it is best for you to hear it from us first.

It came to light in early Sept. that there were irregularities in our bank statements. In some instances it was bank error but in others it was unauthorized access to funds. With this information in hand, we took action and contacted the TPD to investigate the missing funds. That investigation has come to an end and unfortunately it points to a FOSEK board member, with access to these accounts, allegedly misappropriating funds for personal use.

We will not be naming the person in question at this time, as we stand by the legal standard of innocent until proven guilty. We have taken action as a board to secure our funds. We felt as a board we had sufficient proof from our own internal investigation to take these steps. We believe in transparency and we will not act to shield anyone involved in this matter. We have cooperated fully with the police investigation and we were asked to delay this announcement until the TPD completed their efforts and gave us the OK. That is the only reason for the delay in sending this notice.

The BoD has worked hard to make FOSEK an organization you can trust to do what is best for the incredible athlete's we serve. We ask that you keep an open mind and please alert any board member of any rumors you may hear or of any inappropriate communications you may receive from present or former FOSEK board members. We all hope to bring this dark chapter to a close as soon as possible.

In the mean time, we will continue to offer our programs as we always have. We hope you will continue to support us and allow us to regain your trust. There will be changes made to the way the board does business with stronger controls in place to ensure this type of thing will never happen again.

Please feel free to contact any board member with questions. We will do our best to answer all questions in full.

Thank you,

FOSEK Board of Directors

The message was sent in an email by board member Bob Gill. As part of the email, Gill said the board would be making no further comment until the case had been adjudicated.

FOSEK oversees several programs for special needs children in Tewksbury, including soccer, basketball, kickball, t-ball, golf and kickball.

Steve McMahan November 05, 2012 at 01:53 PM
This photograph is offensive. I hope this degenerate is happy in jail.
David November 05, 2012 at 05:55 PM
WOW been in Tewksbury for 15 years this has to be at least the 5th organization that I know of in Tewksbury that has been caught with there hand in the cookie jar. I guess those Cori forms are useless
dodie November 05, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I think that is the picture she posted with her blog here.
Jane Dough November 05, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Cori Forms are only helpful if the perp has been caught in the past. Otherwise, there would have been no way of knowing this 'would' happen. But it doesn't say she is being connected to any other organizations in town - that will be interesting...seems like when cans of worms similar to this one are opened, the 'alleged criminal''s past comes to join Karma in biting her/him in the butt. Kuddo's to the board for their swift investigating and forthcoming to TPD! Just goes to show, the wrongs of the other organizations for making breaking news like this have taught a lesson - she didn't get away with it for years
Brenda C. November 07, 2012 at 05:33 PM
Unfortunately, you never know an individual until they become infamous. Ms. Magnusson always portrayed herself to be the law abiding upstanding citizen when it came to other "swindling" stories coming to light. Her favorite saying...."the karma bus is going to chase you and run you over". For me, its a great sadness to lose a friend because of this, but, I cannot associate with people that do this sort of thing. So, I do hope that "LaSwindler" learned her lesson in all of this. My continued support to her children and mom.
Karma November 08, 2012 at 09:45 AM
I think the Karma bus is chasing the con artist and is definitely going to run her over!
Honest Joe November 09, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Brenda C, if you are such a supporter of her children and Mom, it makes we wonder why you continue to bash her in a public forum for the whole world to see. Give it a rest!
EYES ARE EVERYWHERE January 18, 2013 at 01:58 PM
AS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD, THE JANUARY 11, 2013 COURT DATE HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FEBRUARY 13, 2013. CHILDREN AND PARENTS AFFECTED BY THIS EMBEZZLEMENT SHOULD WRITE VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS TO LOWELL DISTRICT COURT. THESE WILL BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN SENTENCING IS ANNOUNCED.
Concerned person January 18, 2013 at 03:06 PM
What ever happened with this case?
June Bug January 21, 2013 at 02:54 AM
It has been postponed until February 13. My guess is that the defendant and prosecutor cannot come to an agreement about parole. She'll never "do time" unfortuntely....

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