AZ Woman Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison After Stealing From Cancer Support Charity

PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Melissa Talal was sentenced to 2 years in prison after stealing from an Arizona non-profit cancer support charity. Talal pled guilty to 1 count of Theft and 2 counts of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices.

"This was a heartless crime," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “Talal stole thousands of dollars in donations that were intended to assist Arizonans battling cancer. It was important to obtain justice for those fighting this horrible disease and for Cancer Support Community Arizona's staff, their donors, and volunteers."

A State Grand Jury indicted 42-year-old Melissa Talal on 1 count of Theft and 2 counts of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices in 2015.  Talal was a finance coordinator for Cancer Support Community Arizona (CSCAZ) formerly known as The Wellness Community Arizona, a non-profit organization providing support to individuals diagnosed with cancer and their families.  During her employment, Talal had exclusive access to CSCAZ financial and bookkeeping records. From March 2007 to March 2011, Talal obtained a CSCAZ credit card and used it to make more than $150,000 in unauthorized personal purchases for items such as concert tickets, clothing, and electronics. In addition, Talal manipulated CSCAZ payroll to inflate her paychecks and paid herself more than $40,000 that she was not entitled to.

CSCAZ noticed errors and delays in reports and financial records and launched a forensic investigation. The organization then contacted the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.

Upon her release from prison, Talal will also serve 3 years probation.

A restitution hearing will be set at a later date.

Assistant Attorney General Scott Blake prosecuted this case.