Three people were charged with fraud and embezzlement over an alleged plot to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds intended to help California’s homeless residents, the state attorney general said Thursday.
Two of the three defendants worked for the Los Angeles-based nonprofit People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), which received a major contract from the LA Homeless Services Authority in 2016.
The trio stole hundreds of thousands of dollars by filing fraudulent referrals and requests for help on behalf of people who were not actually homeless, Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.
The defendants, all women in their forties, face a total of 56 crimes. All pleaded innocent and will have to appear in court next month, the Los Angeles Times reported.
PATH reported the alleged wrongdoing to the police and cooperated in the investigation, the Times said.
“As an organization committed to ending the homelessness of individuals, families and communities, we are appalled that people are stealing precious resources from vulnerable, unhodged people,” the organization said in a statement from Tyler Renner, its media director.
Renner said it raised about $ 400,000. He said PATH reimbursed the homelessness authority and the nonprofit insurance company paid for part of the loss.