SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The former CEO of a Maryland nonprofit was charged Tuesday with diverting grant money intended to help domestic violence victims to pay for personal expenses and a failing weight loss clinic that she owned.
A criminal complaint also accuses Glenda Hodges, 69, of Clinton, Maryland, of defrauding an ailing 71-year-old woman who volunteered for Still I Rise, the nonprofit that Hodges operated.
Hodges received more than $2 million in federal and county grants to start a program to serve victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Between 2010 and 2017, Hodges was awarded nearly $900,000 in grants from the Justice Department’s Office of Violence Against Women and nearly $1.2 million in grants from Prince George’s County.
But a federal review of the nonprofit’s bank records and invoices showed Hodges spent much of the grant money on personal expenditures and to illegally support her for-profit weight loss clinic, called Women’s Wellness Center, the complaint alleges.
Hodges also used grant money for her personal benefit, including a mortgage payment for her personal property in North Carolina, according to the complaint.
Hodges is charged with bank fraud and wire fraud. A date for her initial court appearance wasn’t immediately set.
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Hodges. A call to a telephone number associated with Hodges wasn’t immediately returned.
Her nonprofit and clinic both have closed, according to the complaint.
Federal agents interviewed a retired school teacher who regularly volunteered at Still I Rise and had loaned Hodges money to keep it running. In 2016, when the volunteer was recovering from a life-threatening infection, Hodges visited her in the hospital and asked her to sign a power-of-attorney form so Hodges cold borrow $25,000 using the volunteer’s identity, according to the complaint.
Hodges paid for a medical transportation service to take the volunteer to a bank branch, but the volunteer didn’t know the reason for the trip, didn’t sign any paperwork and didn’t speak with a bank representative, according to the complaint. The volunteer “only remembers being in pain and in a wheelchair with an antibiotic (catheter) line running to her heart, and Hodges later saying that the $25,000 loan was approved,” the complaint says.
The volunteer later discovered that Hodges had maxed out the line of credit and failed to make payments, causing the volunteer to default on the loan, according to the complaint.
Federal agents also interviewed former employees of Hodges’ cash-strapped clinic. The clinic’s medical director said practitioners had told him that Hodges instructed them to inject saline solution into patients instead of a fat-dissolution compound, the complaint said. The medical director said he told them not to do that, the document added.
The medical director also told agents that Hodges often introduced herself as “Dr. Hodges” and wore a white lab coat. The medical director “thought this was unusual because he had never seen a non-medical practitioner wear a white lab coat inside a medical practice,” the complaint said.
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