Diana Kindt’s actions cost the Family Life Center to lose $50,000 in nine years, according to a state report.
The former executive director of the Family Life Center, in Bunnell, turned herself in to authorities Thursday, Sept. 15, following a yearlong investigation by the State Attorney’s Office.
Diana Lee Kindt, 44, who worked as the executive director of the center under the name of Diana LaPorta Christen, surrendered last week at the Volusia County Branch Jail. She was charged with organizing fraud in the first degree, according to reports, and was released after posting $10,000 bail.
A yearlong investigation by the State Attorney’s Office determined Kindt misappropriated more than $50,000 from the Family Life Center.
The center provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, education, counseling and referral services for victims or survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
State Attorney R.J. Larizza said Kindt — through systematic fraud, forgeries and unauthorized reimbursements and expenses — victimized the agency.
Kindt joined the Family Life Center as an outreach advocate Aug. 20, 2001, and then was promoted to executive director in 2002, prior to her termination Sept. 3, 2010, by the board of directors.
The fraudulent activities by Kindt began in June 2009, according to reports, when she knowingly obtained and used the Family Life Center company credit card to charge expenses related to unauthorized and extended travel.
According to the report, Kindt and two other directors went to an International Kiwanis Conference, in Nashville, Tenn. The trip, as well as all of the expenses and paid leave time, wasn’t approved by the board of directors.
The expenses incurred on the organizations credit card exceeded $1,300 throughout the trip, according to the report. Additionally, $2,080 was paid in salary for the trip.
Members of the board of directors said the trip wasn’t authorized.
However, according to documents, at the time of the conference, Kindt was the Florida State Lt. Governor of Kiwanis, and was supposed to receive a stipend to offset travel-related expenses.
“A search of Kindt’s personal checking-account records confirmed that Kindt received two separate checks from Kiwanis totaling $755 to offset her travel-related expenses for the Nashville conference,” the report states.
In May 2010, Kindt forged paperwork and checks to take out a $120,000 mortgage on the Family Life Center facility, which was an unauthorized action, according to the report. At the time, the existing mortgage on the shelter was about $6,000.
From Jan. 21, 2010, to July 15, 2010, Kindt fraudulently signed 59 checks payable to persons and businesses, knowing the checks to be false, altered or forged, the report states.
Also, between June 2010 and August 2010, Kindt and her sister, Patricia Wasmuth — who was hired by Kindt to be bookkeeper/office manager for the Family Life Center — used more than $10,000 in grant money to open Affordable Treasures Thrift Store. The store eventually closed.
Kindt was placed on leave with pay Aug. 26, 2010, with a pending investigation. Kindt and Wasmuth, along with Stephanie Laporta and Jeremy Katzman, were all terminated from employment Sept. 3, 2010.
Wasmuth, 51, was arrested Sept. 17, charged with grand theft and booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail, according to records. She posted bail and was released.
Flagler County Sheriff Donald Fleming said a lot of time was dedicated to this case.
“Our detectives spent many hours and days working with the State Attorney’s Office to bring information together in this case,” Fleming said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that funds aimed at providing a very necessary service to our community were diverted.”
Contact Andrew O’Brien at [email protected].