The woman of St. Louis admits to stealing charity money to buy a house

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A woman in St. Louis stole tens of thousands of dollars from a nonprofit so she could buy a home, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois said.

Kenesha Burlison, 40, pleaded guilty February 10 to theft from a federal money-receiving organization and aggravated identity theft.

Court documents show Burlison fraudulently obtained a cashier’s check from Call For Help in East St. Louis for $69,788.62 and used the money to pay upfront for a home she was buying.

Call For Help helps people who have experienced sexual assault, poverty, homelessness and mental health issues. The organization receives annual federal funds to help carry out its mission.

Burlison, who has served as the organization’s human relations director since 2016, says she needs to give a cashier’s check to a company with a title. She said she couldn’t get one from her bank because it was closed.

In exchange for the cashier’s check, Burlison gave Call for Help a personal check for $70,000; checks are returned. Two other checks she provided in the coming months also bounced, according to prosecutors.

Court documents allege that, in connection with her mortgage application, Burlison filed fraudulent income verification with forged signatures of the quality assurance director at Call for Help.

After she terminated her contract with the organization, Call for Help discovered Burlison had also fraudulently submitted a claim she was not entitled to from the organization in excess of $100,000. These reimbursements were paid to Burlison.

“An organization dedicated to supporting trauma victims and families in crisis holds a high position
expect honesty and integrity from its director,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge David
Nanz. “Kenesha Burlison has shown contempt for co-workers and dependents
Call for help to survive.

Burlison will be sentenced on May 26, 2022. The woman of St. Louis admits to stealing charity money to buy a house

Charles Jones

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