In second embezzlement scheme, woman stole over $270k from a DC nonprofit

A Florida woman got caught stealing from her job once — and then did it again. The financial director of a D.C.-based nonprofit got away with sums of cash over $270,000 before federal investigators caught up with her.

Kristina Ballard, 53, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and will spend the next three years in prison. She embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars working as the financial director of Fairtrade America, a nonprofit that certifies farmers’ products that it deems were sold and produced in a fair and equitable way.

But, she’d done it before. In fact, Ballard had promised a judge in 2015 that she had learned from her mistakes and she’d “never let [something like this] happen again.” When she got four years probation for the prior offense, prosecutors said in a statement.

But in reality, just four days after she was indicted on her first embezzlement offense, prosecutors said Ballard started taking money from her new job at Fairtrade America. During the first four months while she was going through the judicial process of her first offense, they said she stole $30,000 from the DC nonprofit.

Ballard wired money to accounts she set up and controlled, created fake invoices, intercepted credit card reward checks, and forged the executive director’s name on those checks. Prosecutors said Ballard paid off her restitution from her first offense using Fairtrade America’s credit card.

The Largo, Florida, woman will serve three years in prison.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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