AIDS Project Florida Federal Funding Frozen After Former CFO Admits to Embezzlement
The Broward County, Fla., Human Services Department has suspended $1.5 million in federal funding for AIDS Project Florida after former APFL Chief Financial Officer William Diamond admitted to embezzling money from the group during his tenure, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Officials informed APFL Executive Director Will Spencer about the federal funding freeze -- which accounts for more than 25% of the not-for-profit group's budget -- in a letter dated April 11. Federal funding will be suspended until a county audit of the group's funds during Diamond's tenure from February 2003 to March 2005 is complete, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Spencer gave county officials an internal audit showing $59,000 in "fraudulent disbursements" signed by Diamond, including petty cash payments to himself, some of which he marked as "bio-trend study/research" in the official ledger, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Broward County Human Services Director Marlene Wilson said the Health Resources and Services Administration -- the federal agency that distributes Ryan White CARE Act funds to counties -- has been notified about the audit. William Green, the county's human services section manager, said that Broward County auditors will review the internal audit and might recommend further action to the Broward County Commission (Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/16).
Diamond's attorney Bruce Lyons on Thursday said that Diamond, who resigned from his position three weeks ago, voluntarily contacted him about the embezzlement to "correct his mistakes," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Lyons said he has informed former APLF Executive Director Norman Kent about the embezzlement, and Kent then notified Spencer and Broward County Vice Mayor Ben Graber. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department and the Broward Sheriff's Office said they did not know of any reported embezzlement, the Sun-Sentinel reports (Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/15). Lyons declined to say how long Diamond embezzled money or verify the amount embezzled, but he did confirm that Diamond took money from the group, according to the Sun-Sentinel (South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4/16).