By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Non-Profit Director Accused of Theft, Wire Fraud

 


Toni Louise Plummer-Alvernaz of Glasgow pleaded not guilty Dec. 7 in U.S. District Court in Great Falls to the charges of theft in excess of $5,000 and wire fraud. She was charged alongside Brady Lynn Funk of Billings. The two allegedly schemed to steal money from the Montana Native Women’s Resource Coalition (MNWC) and the Montana Native Women’s Resource Center, non-profits dedicated to Native women’s victim’s advocacy in Glasgow, Mont.

Alvernaz was the executive director for the MNWC and the resource center. Funk was the administrative assistant for the MNWC and an administrative advocate for the resource center.

Charging documents allege that Alvernaz stole funds belonging to the MNWC and resource center by, “inflated work hours, double-billed travel, paid money to family members, and for the benefit of such family members, and took other benefits that she was not entitled to receive.”

The MNWC and resource center received federal grants of more than $10,000 a year. The organizations had received in excess of $1.6 million in federal grant funds during the period of the charges, which allegedly began in Dec. 2011 and continued through Dec. 2014, according to the charges.


The MNWC is a non-profit organization that assists victims of domestic and sexual assault in Native communities. According to the MNWC’s website, “The MNWC undertaking is to improve urban, rural, and Native American community responses to victims of sexual and domestic violence, provide culturally based training, technical assistance and programming assistance to tribal advocacy, programs and communities. MNWC is committed to healing, sisterhood and bringing voice to Native women...”

A conviction on the count of wire fraud could result in a sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of theft and wire fraud, Alvernaz would also be subject to forfeiture of $160,000 of which she allegedly profited in the scheme, according to court filings.

 

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