HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — An American Legion Post where you live is missing $60,000 that should have gone to helping veterans in the Hopewell area.
Now, a former employee has been accused of embezzling the money.
Wednesday nights at American Legion Post 146 are meant for bingo.
“I enjoy playing Bingo, I enjoy talking to people,” American Legion Post 146 member Joe Orlando said.
It’s just one way that the non-profit organization makes money.
But as of late, calculations have been off.
An investigation by Virginia State Police reveals that former employee Betsy Noel is responsible.
“All that money we could have had to make somebody’s life a little bit better isn’t here anymore,” the post’s commander Dennis Hubbes said.
Hubbes believes 62-year-old Noel may have embezzled as much as $60,000 from the Hopewell American Legion.
The organization hired her to oversee the accounts from various income streams.
Hubbes said they starting noticing something was off on the post’s electronic pull-tab machines.
“We started to notice that our 50 percent wasn’t quite as equal to their 50 percent.
Half of the earnings went to the machine’s vendor, but the other half was well short of what it was supposed to be.
“It was a disappointing circumstance,” Hubbes said.
A circumstance with widespread effects.
“The veterans, the kids that we provide scholarships to, various things like that, that are suffering a loss,” Hubbes said.
Investigators became aware of the missing money over the summer. Veteran Joe Orlando hopes Noel is held responsible.
“I don’t know if she owns a house or owns a car, but she may lose both of them in order to make restitution, never know,” Orlando said.
“The lesson learned for everybody is don’t take anything for granted,” Hubbes said.
The post commander says it’s unlikely the American Legion will recover most of the money taken reportedly taken by Noel.
Authorities charged Noel with felony embezzlement.
She has since been released on bond but is expected back in court in December.