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Police probe theft of $30,000 from charitable agency



Published: Sat, April 2, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



No charges have been filed in the case.

YOUNGSTOWN -- City police are investigating the theft of nearly $30,000 from the Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way.

Donald Cagigas, United Way president, filed a police report, and the agency issued a press release Friday.

Cagigas told police that Deborah S. Freudenberg, 46, of Virginia Avenue, New Waterford, a 25-year employee of the agency, was fired Aug. 26, 2004, after being questioned about 14 checks found in her desk drawer.

Freudenberg, reached Friday, said she was fired by United Way based on the theft allegation but was unaware of a police investigation.

Freudenberg denied taking contributions.

No charges have been filed. The investigation has been turned over to Detective Sgt. Tom Parry. He could not be reached Friday.

Discovery

The United Way president told police that the loss of $29,700 was discovered after several months of working with National City Bank. The agency president added that the bank keeps records for only seven years, and Freudenberg had been employed for 25 years and made deposits on a regular basis.

United Way, in its press release, said it can assure its donors that the investigation will not affect programs, and the agency believes liability insurance will cover the loss.

Although United Way has financial checks and balances, a knowledgeable person in a position of trust may have compromised the controls that were in place, JoAnn Strock, director of marketing and resource development, said in the press release. She said all internal controls have been reviewed and improvements made.




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