The founder and former executive director of a Syracuse-area nonprofit has admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Medicaid money intended for the less fortunate in her community.

Shirley Goddard of Dewitt started Humanitarian Organization for Multicultural Experiences (H.O.M.E.) with her husband Tyrone in the early 1990s. H.O.M.E was receiving funding from Medicaid to provide outpatient, community based services to children and adults who are developmentally disabled, according to an announcement from New York Attorney General Letitia James' Office:

“Medicaid funds are intended to help serve our state’s most vulnerable communities, but Shirley Goddard defrauded this program and illegally pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars. To be clear, my office has zero tolerance for this type of fraud,..."

Goddard, 75, pleaded guilty in the case on Friday, admitting to embezzling $650, 809.32 from the organization between 2014 and 2018, the OAG's office said.

Meanwhile, the OAG's Charities Bureau has also filed a civil lawsuit alleging the Goddard's improperly diverted of misused nearly a million dollars in H.O.M.E's charitable assets for personal gain. While Shirley Goddard spent three decade as the non-profit's executive director, her husband Tyrone also played a role in the theft, according to the filing:

the former board chair, was aware of and helped to conceal his wife’s unlawful conduct. The money that the Goddards stole hindered H.O.M.E.’s ability to fulfill its mission to provide critical services to individuals with developmental disabilities in the Syracuse area.

In accordance with her guilty plea, Shirley Goddard will pay $650,000 in restitution, which will go to H.O.M.E to be used as it had been intended.

However, that does not settle the civil suit, which also looks to ban the couple from having 'any fiduciary role' in any charitable or nonprofit organization in New York State.

Goddard is due to be sentenced in the criminal case on May 13.

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