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Former director admits she stole Frederick Douglass Community Association money


Harper Williams

The Blade
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The former executive director of the Frederick Douglass Community Association admitted Monday that she stole money from the organization because of a gambling addiction.

Sonya Harper Williams, 55, now of Phoenix, Ariz., pleaded guilty in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to grand theft, a fourth-degree felony. She could face up to 18 months in prison when she is sentenced Jan. 9 by Judge Ian English.

Visiting Judge Frederick McDonald told her she could be placed on community control and would be ordered to pay restitution, the amount of which is still in question.

While prosecutors contend she stole close to $54,000 between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2014, defense attorney Rick Kerger said the two sides still are trying to determine the exact amount of restitution.

Mr. Kerger said it was at least $7,500 and as much as $56,000, and Harper Williams told the court she believed it was “far closer” to $7,500.

Asked by Judge McDonald to tell the court what she did, Harper Williams said, “As executive director of the FDCA, I misused cash funds under a gambling addiction. Funds that were at my access, I used those funds for gambling expenses.”

She remains free on a monitored recognizance bond.

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