ATwo class A misdemeanor charges were filed Monday through Faulkner County District Court against former Habitat for Humanity executive director Patricia Hoskins.
Hoskins, of Conway, served as executive director to Habitat from 2009 until her resignation earlier this year following what has now been revealed by board president Anthony Stanley to have been a suspension.
The court affidavit requesting her arrest lists charges of theft of property and fraudulent use of a credit card.
According to court documents, Hoskins used Habitat for Humanity funds through August to December of last year to make personal and unauthorized purchases for manicures, pedicures, and financial investment tools that were not used for the non-profit organization.
A Conway Police Department detective noted in the affidavit that none of the purchases were approved or used by the Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County.
Stanley said he found a "suspicious charge" while signing checks from August of 2011 to December of 2011 and asked that the board treasurer assist him in conducting an audit.
"We did the audit and an investigation and determined that there was sufficient cause to suspend her with pay, pending more investigation," said Stanley.
In addition to the unauthorized use of the credit card, Hoskins also made several purchases at Lowe’s and Sherwin-Williams in Conway for a home remodeling project, the documents stated.
According to the detective, Hoskins forged false house numbers on Habitat billing documents pertaining to homeowner mortgage accounts.
The affidavit says Hoskins billed a total of $677.52 to the Sherwin-Williams account and "billed those charges to house number 20 and house number 21."
The document states that house 20 had passed the painting stage, and construction on house 21 had yet to begin.
The detective stated that "specific information" revealed that the purchases at Lowe’s and Sherwin-Williams had been used and installed at a home at the 20 block of Kensington Drive that is owned by Conway attorney Frank Shaw and rented by Hoskins.
Total charges within the time frame did not exceed $1,000, which would have made illegal acts a felony.
"This misdemeanor charge was filed through City Attorney Mike Murphy since this isn’t a felony. Act 570 moved the felony amount from $500 to $1,000, so it is harder to charge people on felony thefts," said Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland. "We reviewed this case but found it did not meet the felony level due to that Act."
Hiland added that "crime increases when the cost to the criminal is less painful." He said that "if keeping people out of prison was the goal of Act 570, then mission accomplished."
Murphy was unavailable for comment Monday.
Hoskins told the detective in an interview that she illegally charged the items because "she felt they owed her the money because of all of the hard work she had put into the organization without what she felt was adequate compensation."
Habitat for Humanity of Faulkner County is headed now by Shenel Sandidge, former board secretary, who was appointed by the board in March.
Stanley assured Monday that Habitat has put measures in place so that "nothing like this happens again."
He said that the "mission of Habitat still goes on," and that no money donated by the public has been misused.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)