Federal prosecutors have charged the former president of a children’s charity with stealing more than $400,000 from the organization when it was based in Bloomington.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Peoria said Friday a grand jury has indicted Carol Babbitt, 60, on charges she defrauded the national not-for-profit Project Linus, a charity that provides handmade blankets for children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need.
Babbitt was Project Linus’ national president from 2000 to 2016, when it was headquartered in Bloomington.
Prosecutors allege Babbitt used Project Linus credit cards to pay for personal items, including clothing, electronics, pet grooming, furniture, tickets for sporting events and personal travel.
Prosecutors said Project Linus failed to reimburse others for expenses and that Babbitt represented the organization's financial condition as poor.
Babbitt falsely told the project board of directors she was repaying Project Linus for her credit card purchases through payroll deductions, prosecutors said.
The indictment also claimed Babbitt filed false tax returns for failing to report the stolen funds.
Bloomington Police assisted in the investigation along with the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Illinois Department of Revenue.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Babbitt made her first court appearance Friday in federal court in North Carolina and was released from custody. She is scheduled to appear in U.S. District court in Peoria on Feb. 13.
Babbitt could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
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