Ex-Nonprofit COO Charged With Theft

The former chief operating officer (COO) of an Anchorage, Alaska substance abuse and education advocacy nonprofit has been arrested for allegedly stealing more than  $60,000 from the organization over three years.

Anna Sappah was COO of Alaska Addiction Professionals Association (AAPA) from 2009 until the end of 2013. According to a report in The Anchorage Daily News, authorities filed charges against her earlier this month that allege that she had her bank issue a debit card linked to an AAPA account and started stealing money from the organization. The complaint alleges she started with $3,803.42 in 2010, $18,423.28 in 2011, and $24,329.73 in 2012. Sappah allegedly accumulated a total of $60,849 by the end of 2013. It is alleged in the complaint that she used on personal purchases.

According to the police complaint, AAPA Treasurer Cynthia Aiken told authorities that Sappah had reported the nonprofit’s account balance during those three years without being questioned. Sappah eventually told Aiken in Dec. 2013 that there was no more money left in the account, and an internal audit eventually uncovered Sappah’s alleged actions, according to police.

Police said they were given a confession signed by Sappah on Jan. 30, along with a thumb drive containing an audio recording of a board meeting where Sappah was confronted. The police complaint stated that Sappah claimed she had at one point kept track of how much money she was taking with the intention of paying it back, but she did not realize the amount was so high. Sappah’s arraignment is scheduled for March 7. She is charged with first-degree theft, scheme to defraud and fraudulent use of an access device. You can read the full story in The Anchorage Daily News.