Months after he was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the Christmas Bureau, Shon Washington, the charity's director, has been arrested on charges that he stole between $20,000 and $100,000 from the charity. He's also accused of presenting a false pay stub to get a loan.
Ahead of the holiday season last year, Washington claimed the Christmas Bureau only had about $200 in the bank. According to police, that raised a red flag since more than $26,000 has been deposited in the charity's account.
"Historically the Christmas Bureau has had a substantial amount of money in their accounts to start operations and they would withhold that year to year," said Detective Billy Petty with APD's White Collar Crime Unit.
In December, Washington was arrested on drug charges after a traffic stop. According to search warrants filed after his arrest, police found that checks made payable to the Christmas Bureau were deposited into another account belonging to Washington. Nearly $6,500 was withdrawn from that account through ATMs. Thousands more was spent on automobile loan payments, restaurants, hotels and at liquor stores. Detective Petty says Washington is also accused of spending Christmas Bureau money on automobiles and a mobile home.
"Ultimately through the investigation we concluded that at least $30,000 of the money donated to the Christmas Bureau was used for the self-enrichment of Shon and his family."
In December, the Texas Attorney General's office froze the charity's assets while APD's Operation Blue Santa stepped up to help the thousands of families that were supposed to receive gifts from the Christmas Bureau.
"It's unfortunate in there ways: it's unfortunate for the families that rely on it, it's unfortunate for the people that donated believing the money was going to be used to help needy families and it's unfortunate for the community because the Christmas Bureau has been here a long time doing great work in the community."
Washington remains in custody on drug charges and faces these additional felony charges. He is being held on a $75,000 bond.