Bookkeeper given 30 days to get affairs in order before reporting to prison

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 6:54 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A former bookkeeper who stole from the Oasis Women’s Shelter in Lake Charles will go to prison.

When Meaghan Boudreaux gets out, she’ll be required to have a plan for paying back the non-profit.

The former bookkeeper for “Oasis-a-Safe-Haven” stole nearly $200,000 from the women’s shelter. Judge Robert Wyatt sentenced Boudreaux to ten years in prison, with all but three suspended.

Shelter director Kathy Manuel said it’s important to hold people who steal from non-profits accountable.

“I didn’t just want her to get probation and go on with her life like she did nothing wrong. She did a lot wrong to victims of domestic and sexual violence in our community,” Manuel said. “It’s your reputation and it’s your credibility that people who are buying from you or donating to you know where the money is going. When somebody steals it, that’s a black eye on you.”

Manuel said Boudreaux went to great lengths to try to cover up the thefts, even after the first ones were discovered.

“When we discovered that she had gone on the insurance and it wasn’t coming out of her check, which is the first thing that we did discover, she went in and changed her paycheck stubs and brought them to show me that it was coming out of her check,” Manuel said. “So, we had the originals, and we knew she had changed them. It also showed on the computer the dates that she changed them.”

When Boudreaux is released, she must go to court where they will decide a plan for her to pay back the agency. Boudreaux has two children and will be given 30 days to get her affairs in order before reporting to prison.

Neither Boudreaux nor her attorney had any comment. Oasis no longer has an in-house bookkeeper. They’ve hired a local CPA firm to handle their accounting.

Following this story are Manuel’s comments to the court:

As a non-profit agency in this community, our reputation is everything. Our reputation is what allows us to receive financial donations, state and federal grants, community support, and successful fundraisers.

The crime Meaghan committed against the non-profit agency has had lasting effects on our agency and our community. We received multiple calls when this first hit the media over 2 years ago. Again, when she pleaded guilty, we started receiving calls and questions. Now with the sentencing, this will be in the media again which hinders the agency to further support domestic and sexual violence victims. We have struggles to reassure the community that we as an agency have taken steps to prevent this type of thing from ever happening again. We no longer have an in-house bookkeeper; we have a contract with a CPA firm to handle our bookkeeping.

Our staff were affected personally by this because they thought of Meaghan as a part of a team. We are a small staff, and everyone is close. She always made comments regarding not having money to spend or making sure you turn in the receipt that it would be her explaining to the auditor all the while she was stealing thousands of dollars from the agency. The funds in our agency are used to provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, she stole services from those victims.

She deliberately stole funds by directly depositing them in her account, she also added herself to the medical insurance policy and added additional Aflac policies without deducting the payments from her check. She was deliberately stealing funds for a year and a half and when we questioned her regarding the insurance, she tried to alter paycheck stubs to cover it up. We had the originals, so we had the proof. After being questioned she never returned to work and denied any phone call or text from all employees of the agency. At this time, we discovered the magnitude of the theft and the financial hardships that this brought to our agency.

As far as punishment is concerned, the Board of Directors and the staff of Oasis ask that the maximum punishment allowed by law be enforced due to the negative effects this has had on our agency and community. The crime she committed is happening in our community to other non-profit organizations and it is not going to stop until those people committing these crimes are held accountable. We pray that this court shows this community that stealing funds from organizations and businesses is not acceptable and will be punished at the maximum allowed by law.