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Former head of women’s charity counts Aretha Franklin, Betty Shabazz as members convicted for embezzlement

The former executive director of a charity run by Delta Sigma Theta, a centuries-old sorority organization with notable members Roberta Flack and Betty Shabazz, was sentenced to 16 months in prison for embezzlement. almost a quarter of a million dollars from the team.

Jeanine Henderson Arnett, 44, and husband Diallo Arnett, 47, pleaded guilty earlier this year to using a charity’s credit card to pay for a car rental, shop for clothes and make purchases on Amazon.com . The couple are also accused of transferring charity funds directly to their bank accounts.

In total, prosecutors said, the pair misappropriated $228,000 between 2017 and 2019. Jeanine Arnett, who originally joined Delta Sigma Theta as a student at Syracuse University, was fired. discarded when the sorority found out the money was lost.

Diallo Arnett was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. The couple was also ordered to forfeit $228,000 in property plus another $228,000 in damages.

Jeanine Arnett’s attorney, Kevin McCants, said his client regrets it and “commits to full compensation”.

“She still has a lot of respect for Delta Sigma Theta,” he said.

An attorney for Diallo Arnett was not immediately available for comment.

A university institution

The sorority, founded in 1913 at Howard University, has long been a highly regarded institution in Black college life. The sorority has more than 1,000 chapters for college and alumni, and counts celebrities from former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch to soul legend Aretha Franklin as members.

The charity Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., based in Washington, DC, is focused on providing food for the hungry and assisting victims of domestic violence, as well as providing grants and other support for students.

Phone calls to the sorority went unanswered on Wednesday because the group’s office closed early for Thanksgiving.

In court filings, the Arnetts said they have been struggling financially since 2014 when Diallo Arnett was diagnosed with severe kidney disease and was unable to continue working. He had a kidney transplant last year.

Jeanine Arnett said her husband started using her company’s credit card to cover expenses and they were about to pay it back, but the debt quickly spiraled out of hand.

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