December 15, 2018
 
Ex-Director at Nonprofit Charged with Embezzling $135K

October 4, 2018 — The former director of family support at LifeLinks, a Chelmsford nonprofit that provides services to families of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, was charged on Tuesday in Middlesex Superior Court with embezzling $135,552 from the organization.

Amy Young, of Lowell, pleaded not guilty to the charge, according to a report in The Lowell Sun, and was released on personal recognizance and ordered not to leave the continental U.S. She is due back in court Nov. 14.

According to the attorney general's (AG's) office, Young, who was promoted to director of family support at LifeLinks in 2013 after having served as a unit case manager since 2006, allegedly stole the funds during the 2011-2016 period.

Young who was responsible for managing and distributing funds provided by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Service. During the period alleged in the indictment, it was sometimes LifeLink's practice, once a check request was approved by the Finance Department, to make the check payable to the vendor providing the services.

"Young often wrote on the Check Request Form 'Hold for Amy,' which meant that instead of the check being mailed to the vendor that she would pick it up and give it to the appropriate payee/vendor," according to the AG's office.

The embezzlement scheme was discovered in about July 16, 2016 when LifeLink's finance department sought back-up documentation with respect to items Young had submitted for approval and had been paid, the AG's office said. One of those items, reportedly was reimbursement for a purported "Family Support Parents Night Out" party. Case managers at the nonprofit told their superiors that the event had not been held.

Young was suspended from her job on Aug. 31, 2016, and fired the next day, according to papers filed by the AG.

During an interview with Chelmsford police detectives in February 2017, according to the AG's office, Young said "that in the later years she was taking a lot more chances with bigger items...She said when she was doing it, it did not seem like she was taking that amount of money. She also said it was low-bearing fruit."

According to court documents, LifeLinks believes the thefts go back about seven fiscal years, and total nearly three times the amount the AG office alleges Young stole, The Lowell Sun reported.

"In April, the organization filed a civil case against Young in Middlesex Superior Court, seeking repayment of $286,000 it believes Young stole, including $228,455 in state funds LifeLinks repaid the state from its reserves, according to The Lowell Sun report.

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