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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Marion nonprofit manager accused of stealing over $750,000

A 41-year-old business manager of a local nonprofit organization has been indicted for organized fraud in connection with the theft of more than $750,000 over an eight-year period.

On Tuesday, November 7, United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the return of an indictment charging Danielle Jane Liles with eight counts of wire fraud.

Danielle Jane Liles
Danielle Jane Liles

If Liles is convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each count. In addition, the United States is also seeking an order of forfeiture for at least $616,793.43, which represents the “unlawful proceeds of the offenses charged in the indictment.”

According to court records, between January 11, 2016, and April 10, 2023, Liles allegedly devised a scheme to defraud Silver River Mentoring & Instruction, a nonprofit organization that provides mentoring and education to at-risk children in Marion and Citrus counties.

On April 24, 2023, an Ocala Police Department detective made contact with the executive director of Silver River Mentoring & Instruction who advised that the organization’s business manager, Liles, had admitted to fraud due to an upcoming financial audit, according to the arrest report.

A few days earlier, on April 21, 2023, Liles had traveled to the organization’s location in Citrus County to begin the financial audit. After meeting with the executive director, Liles advised that the “books were going to be off” due to extra paychecks that she had given herself since 2016. She allegedly told the executive director that she stole the money from the organization because she “became addicted to it,” according to the arrest report.

The detective reviewed the documentation that Liles had provided the executive director, which highlighted all of the fraudulent checks that she allegedly paid to herself. The arrest report stated that the documents were separated by individual year, from 2016 to 2023, and referenced the following fraudulent checks:

  • 2016 – 10 checks totaling $57,000.
  • 2017 – 14 checks totaling $77,575.
  • 2018 – 4 checks totaling $27,000.
  • 2019 – 19 checks totaling $126,675.
  • 2020 – 32 checks totaling $158,333.
  • 2021 – 23 checks totaling $154,245.
  • 2022 – 21 checks totaling $108,813.
  • 2023 – 7 checks totaling $44,692.

The total amount of the fraudulent checks was $754,333. While Liles allegedly confessed to the executive director and provided documentation of the fraudulent checks, the detective requested that the organization’s accountant review all of their accounts to ensure that the information Liles had provided was accurate.

The accountant discovered additional fraudulent payments that were not included in the reports that were provided by Liles. The accountant informed investigators that since 2016, Liles had allegedly made a total of 137 fraudulent checks to herself, totaling over $766,000. These fraudulent payments included additional checks outside of her normal paycheck period and added funds to her actual wage for the pay period, according to the arrest report.

Court records state that Liles received these fraudulent paychecks through Automated Clearinghouse Services wire transfers.

On May 2, 2023, Liles arrived at Marion County Jail to turn herself in. She was arrested for organized fraud (more than $50,000), and she was later released from the jail on $25,000 bond.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Education – Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Hannah Nowalk.

An indictment is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a federal criminal offense. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.