Former Piper's Angels leader found guilty of fraud after nonprofit's money went missing
A federal jury last week found a former Palm Beach County firefighter guilty of wire fraud related to the theft of more than $150,000 from the Piper's Angels Foundation, a North Palm Beach-based charity.
The verdict in the case of Elizabeth Genna Suarez came Wednesday, following a three-day trial before U.S. Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks at the West Palm Beach federal courthouse. Jurors found Suarez guilty on three of the four counts she faced and not guilty on the other. Her sentencing is scheduled for April.
Suarez worked as a Palm Beach County Fire Rescue firefighter and EMT from March 2019 until her resignation last November.
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Federal prosecutors filed charges against her in December, alleging that she stole from the foundation, a nonprofit that provides assistance cystic fibrosis patients and their families. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes problems with breathing and digestion.
Suarez at one time was married to the charity's founder and CEO, was a member of its board of directors and performed its bookkeeping duties.
She was accused of falsifying comments in a bookkeeping program to make it appear that withdrawals she had made were for legitimate business purposes. In reality, prosecutors said, Suarez was using charity funds for personal use, including spending for cosmetic surgery, improvements to her car and items such as sunglasses.
In all, she misappropriated $158,960, prosecutors said.
Suarez provided restitution for the full amount and acknowledged that she acted alone, Piper's Angels Foundation board president Paul Smolchek said in a letter to foundation members in December.
She was also given a lifetime ban from the organization.
Julius Whigham II is a criminal justice and public safety reporter for The Palm Beach Post. You can reach him email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at@JuliusWhigham. Help support our work:Subscribe today.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Jurors find former Piper's Angels bookkeeper guilty of wire fraud