February 6, 2023

Arkansas pregnancy center chief stole funds, left for beach, file says

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By Dave Hughes From Arkansas Online

FORT SMITH — The former director of a pregnancy support center accused of stealing more than $25,000 from the center used some of it to pay for a vacation in the Caribbean, court documents said.

Daphne Haas, 41, is scheduled for arraignment on a felony theft charge Wednesday in Sebastian County Circuit Court. She was freed on $5,000 bond shortly after her arrest last week. Court records show she is accused of taking a total of $25,859.52.

An arrest warrant affidavit said Haas was appointed director of Heart to Heart Pregnancy Center at 417 S. 16th St. in 2015.

Police received information that a “substantial amount” of money was missing from the organization’s bank account, and Haas was developed as a person of interest, according to a police news release.

The affidavit by police detective Raymond Stanley said the investigation showed Haas would deposit money for the center into the center’s bank account and then transfer sums into her personal bank account. She made at least 10 transfers of varying amounts from the end of May to mid-January, Stanley’s affidavit showed.

In one case, the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus gave a $20,000 grant to Heart to Heart on May 30 to buy an ultrasound machine, the affidavit said. After Haas deposited the money into the center’s bank account, she transferred $8,000 into her personal bank account. The affidavit said Haas withdrew about $6,460 from her account to pay for a vacation to St. Thomas.

The ultrasound machine and parts for it, for which the center also received money, have not been purchased and the money for the equipment is gone, according to the affidavit.

In August, the Heart to Heart center received a grant from Right to Life for $9,687. Immediately after Haas deposited the grant money into the center’s account, she transferred more than $3,000 into her personal bank account, the affidavit said.

In December, the national Knights of Columbus gave the center $14,050. From that, the affidavit said, Haas made three transfers to her bank account totaling more than $7,200.

Haas took other money from the center’s bank account at other times and deposited into her bank account, as well, according to the affidavit. Other than the Caribbean vacation, the affidavit did not say for what she used the money.

On March 1, the affidavit said, Haas forged the minutes of a meeting in which Haas gave herself total control over the center’s bank account. When Stanley interviewed board members about the minutes, they denied such a meeting occurred.

For more on this story go to: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018/may/08/pregnancy-center-chief-stole-funds-left-1/

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