Officer at nonprofit serving people with disabilities charged with stealing

Published 4:21 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2023

A financial officer of a long-standing Alabama nonprofit was arrested Wednesday and charged with theft after what investigators said was suspicious activity on the nonprofit’s credit card.

Cindy Massey was booked into the Shelby County Jail on Wednesday after the organization became aware of suspicious spending activity on a corporate credit card, authorities said.

The Arc of Shelby did its own internal investigation before turning it over to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for further criminal investigation.

Members of the organization reached out to the sheriff’s office near the beginning of September to report a suspicion of fraud and theft.

“Investigators from the criminal investigations division at the sheriff’s office met with the board members and obtained access to their financial records,” said SCSO Chief Deputy Clay Hammac. “Following a number of court orders, subpoenas and a forensic accounting examination, it was discovered that sufficient evidence was present to suggests that the crime of theft had been committed by Cindy Massey and her daughter Jennifer Massey.”

Cindy Massey was booked into the Shelby County Jail on Wednesday morning on a bond totaling $30,000, which has since been posted. Jennifer Massey currently has two outstanding warrants for charges of theft of property first degree and probation violation.

“I applaud the work and technical expertise of the criminal investigators and further applaud the mission of The Arc of Shelby County along the positive work that is carried out by this incredible organization and the countless lives that have been positively impacted by The Arc,” Hammac said.

The Arc of Shelby County is a nonprofit organization focused on supporting families and people with developmental and intellectual disabilities by helping them fulfill their dreams and enhancing their lives.

“Everyone at The Arc of Shelby County is deeply sadden and disappointed by this clear breach of trust by Ms. Massey,” Arc of Shelby Executive Director Jeannine Lyons said. “While we are still processing this betrayal of trust by an employee who held a key leadership role, we want to express our gratitude for our Board of Directors, staff, families and participants, and community supporters for your ongoing support during this difficult time. We are also incredibly grateful to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for their hard work to handle this matter expeditiously.”

The organization said they want to make sure supporters and community members know this was a matter they took seriously and handled swiftly.

“This breach of trust was quickly identified and investigated and our program participants and families were in no way affected as a result of this breach,” Lyons said.

Lyons added that the organization has already taken the proper steps to recoup the funds.

“We want to assure our donors and supporters that, while the breach did cause a significant financial strain to the organization, it did not undermine The Arc of Shelby County’s long-term financial condition or operations,” she said. “As an organization that has served the Shelby County community for 49 years, we remain committed to full transparency and the highest operating standards to ensure that we can continue to provide quality programs and services to more than 1,300 individuals with intellectual disabilities and families each year.”