June 26, 2009 in City

Plea bargain speeds payback

Nonprofit’s ex-director pleads guilty to theft
By The Spokesman-Review

A former director of the Mid-City Concerns’ Meals on Wheels program pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree theft for the misuse of as much as $80,000 in agency funds.

Cheri Anne Mataya-Muncton agreed in a plea bargain to pay $10,000 in restitution in advance of the guilty plea, said Jared Cordts, deputy prosecuting attorney on the case.

The money has already been received by Spokane County Superior Court, Cordts said.

Mataya-Muncton and a co-worker were investigated for taking agency money for lunches, Victoria’s Secret shopping sprees, video rentals, computer equipment, home upgrades, furniture and a Florida vacation.

The co-worker, Rachelle Solomon, is scheduled for trial in August on a first-degree theft charge.

In addition to the restitution, Mataya-Muncton will pay $500 to a victims fund, $200 in court costs and $100 for a DNA registration fee.

Cordts said the plea bargain was acceptable to the board of Mid-City Concerns because it would repay at least a portion of the losses immediately.

He said getting more restitution would have been a problem in two ways: Each loss would have to be proven at trial, and the restitution might only be paid in small monthly installments over a potentially long period of time.

Cordts said Mataya-Muncton had no prior convictions and was facing a potential sentence of no more than 90 days under the state’s standard sentencing range.

Statements of 12 former and current employees and board members and an independent auditor showed sometimes blatant misuse of money meant to fund an organization that Mataya-Muncton painted as financially struggling in her nine years as director, investigators said.

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