Big Brothers Big Sisters has yet to receive a cent in embezzlement case

woman who pledged in court to return embezzled money hasn't paid back any

jkegley@herald-leader.comJuly 8, 2010 

Last November, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass discovered that nearly 150 checks had been forged totaling $435,837 — one-third of its yearly operating revenue.

Shortly after that discovery, a criminal investigation was launched and the organization filed a civil lawsuit against Bendrea Wilson, a former office manager, and five men who had no ties to Big Brothers but allegedly received the forged checks.

According to court records, charges have not been filed against Wilson or the five men: Demetrius Davis, Danny Fondren, Emmanuel Marshall, Charles Mealing and Marcus Searcy.

Dale Suttles, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, said earlier this week that he does not know whether the case will be prosecuted. But he remains hopeful.

"We hope that due process can take its course, but right now we're turning our attention back to the children," Suttles said.

Last fall, the FBI launched a criminal investigation, then it turned over the case to the U.S. Attorney's office, Suttles said.

Kyle Edelen, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the eastern district of Kentucky, said he could not comment on pending matters.

Wilson, reached by telephone, declined to comment because the situation was "dying down."

In the days that followed the filing of the Big Brothers' lawsuit, Wilson signed an agreed judgment that was accepted by Judge James Ishmael and entered in Fayette Circuit Court. The judgment awarded Big Brothers $435,837 plus 12 percent interest a year. Wilson turned over her house and other property as part of that agreement.

Suttles said Big Brothers, a local non-profit child-mentoring organization, has yet to receive a payment from Wilson.

According to records at the Fayette County clerk's office, Big Brothers Big Sisters transferred the home back to Wilson in June.

Suttles said that was done to expedite the sale. The home had a buyer this spring, but a lien held by Wells Fargo was complicating the sale. All of the money from the sale was used to repay the loan.

"We had hoped in the early stages ... that we could have made some proceeds on the sale of the house. But with the housing market and the economy the way it is, it didn't really work out that way," Suttles said.

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