Ohio Cancer-Stricken Principal's Secretary Accused of Stealing from Funds she Raised on His Behalf

Stacie LaRiccia and Michael Fording
Stacie LaRiccia and Michael Fording. Twitter/Legacy.com

An Ohio woman is accused of stealing funds she raised on behalf of her boss to donate towards cancer research, according to authorities.

Michael Fording, a principal at a Lyndhurst, Ohio, high school, died in November, according to an online obituary. Stacie LaRiccia, his long-time secretary, allegedly started a fundraiser before his passing.

LaRiccia Said the Proceeds of Fundraiser Would be Donated to Fording's Family, Cancer Research

LaRiccia claimed the goal of the 5K run was to create awareness for colon cancer and the proceeds from the same would be donated towards its research and to help Fording's family. However, none of the intended targets received the donations, News 5 Cleveland reported.

The fundraiser reportedly raised between $30,000 and $40,000, per News 5 Cleveland and WKYC, but police allege LaRiccia never donated the money.

In January, police were told of the alleged fraud after Fording's family learned that the funds that were raised had not been forwarded to the hospital that was slated to receive it, authorities said, according to WKYC.

"They found out no donation was ever made," a Lyndhurst Police official said, according to News 5 Cleveland.

LaRiccia Spent the Money on Food, Entertainment

During an ensuing investigation, police say they dug through her financial records and learned that LaRiccia had allegedly used the money to buy food and for entertainment purposes, according to the outlet.

LaRiccia was arrested on March 15 and charged with theft by deception, according to WKYC. She posted a $25,000 bond and is expected to be in court this week. It's not immediately clear if she has retained an attorney or entered a plea.