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Four Charged with Defrauding Domestic Violence Shelter of $100,000

(Phoenix, Ariz. – July 24, 2009) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced the indictment and arrest of four persons accused of defrauding the Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter in Parker, Ariz., of nearly $100,000. 

Suzanne Foss, 48, Terry Foss, 49, Kristopher Foss, 27, and Alicia Torres, 25, are accused of theft, fraudulent schemes and artifices, conspiracy and conducting an illegal enterprise. All four defendants are from Parker. The Fosses were arrested Wednesday in North Carolina. 

The Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter provides women and children who are victims of domestic violence with emergency shelter, counseling and other assistance. It is the only domestic violence shelter serving La Paz County.

“These defendants are alleged to have systematically and inexcusably abused public trust and public funds,” Goddard said. “However, I am pleased that the Colorado River Regional Crisis Shelter has remained strong and will continue to serve La Paz County’s most vulnerable citizens.”  

"This is a very unfortunate case that involved a serious betrayal of trust," said Parker Police Chief Rod Mendoza. "Had we lost this shelter, women in need in this county would have had nowhere to go, but the community has rallied around it, and the doors will stay open. I want to compliment the great work of the La Paz County Sheriff's Office in the initial investigation and the Attorney General's Office for its excellent work in making this case."   

The alleged fraud took place between 2004 and 2007, during which time Suzanne Foss and later Alicia Torres served as Executive Director for the Crisis Shelter. Terry and Kristopher Foss, Suzanne Foss’s husband and son, were also employed at the shelter during this period. They are believed to have also been involved in the defrauding of the shelter but to a lesser degree.  

The indictment claims that Suzanne Foss defrauded the Crisis Shelter out of nearly $100,000 by: 

  • Receiving overtime and vacation time she wasn’t entitled to receive. 
  • Receiving reimbursements for medical insurance coverage that was already provided by shelter. 
  • Receiving payments from federal grant funds for shelter-related services not rendered. 
  • Receiving reimbursement for items that were either never purchased or were taken for personal use.
  • Paying other involved people for services not performed. 
  • Taking items donated to shelter for personal use and allowing other employees to do the same. 

Suzanne and Terry Foss are also accused of fraudulently collecting unemployment compensation benefits by claiming to have been laid off from the Crisis Shelter when in fact they had both resigned.

Assistant Attorney General Monica B. Klapper is prosecuting this case. A copy of the indictment is attached. 

For additional information, contact Anne Hilby at (602) 542-8019. 

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