Former JCCEO employee speaks about theft charges - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Former JCCEO employee speaks about theft charges

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SHELBY COUNTY - AL -

 

 The former chief of a Jefferson County organization - helping people move out of poverty is accused of stealing from the non-profit. ABC 33/40 was the first to report the story and tonight we're learning more details about that organization from a former worker.

The "Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity" also known as the JCCEO lost close to half a million dollars in the theft. The former leader,  Gayle Cunningham and her daughter, Kelli Caufield  are accused of using money  - meant to help the poor - to pay mortgages on eight homes. A former co-worker exclusively told ABC 33/40, she saw it coming.

"Our real mission is to provide quality services to low income citizens," Dr. Marquita Davis, the new JCCEO Executive Director said.

JCCEO'S goal is to help people  move from poverty toward self-sufficiency. But what actually happened ... 

"She's charged with theft of funds from a government program," Joyce Vance, U.S. Attorney said.

An FBI case on mortgage fraud led its investigation to the JCCEO's executive director of 23 years-  who is accused of using money to help the poor in Jefferson County to fund three properties in her name plus five of her daughter's properties.

"That was funds that was intended for the use of JCCEO and community projects these women used to line their own pockets," Vance said.

We knocked on the doors... No one was home.

Cunningham and her daughter bought most of their properties from Reverend Robert Hollman and mortgage broker Brad Bozeman who also face charges. 

"I think the more the case begins to open up the more people are going to be exposed," a former JCCEO Employee said.

We spoke with a former JCCEO employee who asked us to disguise their identity. 

"I saw it coming because there is no way an organization could get this kind of grant money and you not be able to really see it within the community as it could have been used," they said.

The former employee told us the investigation into JCCEO won't stop here.

"There's no doubt in my mind there will be more charges brought up out of this," they said. "I don't think we've heard the ending of this. This is just the beginning." 

They said with Dr. Marquita  Davis as the new director, JCCEO will rebound.

"I think she's going to do a wonderful job of cleaning that place up, getting their image to the way it needs to be and weeding out those bad seeds that have been planted and rooted in there," the former employee said.

Cunningham and her daughter have pleaded guilty and agreed to pay the money back. They both face potential jail time. Sentencing for the two has not yet been set.

 

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