Six indicted for allegedly stealing nearly $1.7 million - CBS46 News

Six indicted for allegedly stealing nearly $1.7 million from company they worked for

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A DeKalb County grand jury has indicted six people for conspiracy to steal more than $1.5 million from the company they worked for. The indicted are Christina Kelly, Tujuana Ross, Rory Ross, Kiante Smith, Tyleshia Avant and Glen Kelly.

"It was small checks, random amounts, $30, $40 $50, $60, a couple hundred dollars here or there, but over the period of five years, it added up to about $1.68 million," said DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James.

The accused worked out of the DeKalb County branch of the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists, or MFPA. It's a company that helps artists who paint with their mouths make money.

"It allows them to send out paintings to perspective donors and the perspective donors send back checks. However when the checks came back, they were not going to the organization, they were going to the individuals that were employed by the organization," James said.

James said the suspects deposited the checks in their own personal checking account. He said a donor caused the alleged scheme to fall apart when he called the MFPA branch asking for his check to be canceled.

"They went back and looked for this individual's check and it did not exist. They said he had never sent it and obviously the inquiry and the investigation started from there," said James.

Tuesday afternoon, the MFPA issued a statement:

"We were stunned, but we immediately began taking steps to recoup the funds meant for these disabled artists.  We have successfully regained most of the money lost, and have directed it back into the programs that provide financial and moral support for disabled artists. We have already installed additional security measures and will continue our mission of helping our disabled artists."

If convicted on the conspiracy charge, the suspects could get up to 20 years behind bars.

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