Shawnee Woman Accused Of Stealing From Charity Reacts To Allegations

Monday, November 3rd 2014, 10:49 pm
By: News 9

She was sent to Oklahoma to help disaster victims. Now, she's accused of stealing more than $70,000 from the organization she represented.

As News 9 reported, Tonia Allen is under investigation by the Pottawatomie County District Attorney's office.

7/11/2014 Related Story: America's Disaster Relief Says Former State Director Mishandled Donation Money

She shared her side of the story for the first time since the accusations of fraud and embezzlement.

Allen was very open and forthcoming Monday evening. Her former boss, Jan France, the CEO of America's Disaster Relief blasted Allen on the organization's Facebook page in July.

France said more than $70,000 in donations went missing under Allen's leadership.

“Why would Jan France take this to the public, and take such extreme accusations to the media, to Facebook, and put this on her Facebook organizations page, before she took it to the police?" Allen asked.

Allen became a familiar name for tornado victims in Bethel Acres and fire victims in Guthrie.

5/15/2014 Related Story: Guthrie Chamber Of Commerce Sends Out Warning

“I do think she had good intentions when this all started,” said homeowner Shirley Cox in July.

Cox and her family are still trying to get back into their Bethel Acres home since a tornado destroyed it more than a year ago.

“We suspected something was wrong,” said Cox.

“I want everyone not to remember me as the girl who allegedly stole $70,000, cause it's not true,” said Allen. “I didn't steal $70,000. How do you build six houses if you take the only $70,000 that's in the bank account out? Three houses were completed and three were near completion. How did we do that if I stole $70,000.”

The former regional director of America's Disaster Relief, over six states at one point, said she knows she is under investigation. She said she is also being sued by a homeowner seeking damages in excess of $75,000 claiming Allen didn't hold up her end of a contract.

“I'm glad about that. I hope that each and every homeowner sues America's Disaster Relief, and if they need to sue me as well, I'm okay with that,” said Allen.

But, Allen promised after the accusations were made public, to hand over receipts, contracts, and any other paper work for the so-called missing money.

“Now, I sent her documentation. I sent it. It shows each month. It shows when I mailed it. If Jan would make that disappear, she'd make the rest of the documentation disappear. I'm not going to give her anything,” said Allen. “Does it make me look bad? Probably so. I'm okay with that. They can charge me, they can arrest me. Sounds like it could be a good civil lawsuit for me. Jan has ruined my life, and I'm not going to stop until I prove how dirty she is.”

“So, Tonia, you can sit here and say that you can account for every penny of that $70,000,” asked News 9's Evan Anderson.

“I'm not a good bookkeeper. I'm not a good bookkeeper. When someone told me we need something for concrete, I told the assistant, write a check for it. I didn't even have a checkbook for the last eight months, nor did I have keys for the materials. That wasn't what I did. I was really sloppy. I was really sloppy as far as bookkeeping goes. That wasn't my passion. If you go to our site, you can see all the pictures of me out there doing concrete, framing, driving a backhoe. Those are the things I cared about. So I definitely was not on top of the bookkeeping.”

“Where are the accusations coming from?” Anderson asked.

“They're coming from Jan France, and they started after I asked her to return money that she took out of the Oklahoma account. She took $5,000 out of the Oklahoma account. She transferred it into her 'operational' account because they were going under.”

Tonia said she asked France for the money back for a home.

“We needed it, and it was right after that, that she openly blasted me to the public,” said Allen. "I'm full of rage, I'm pretty mean, and I'm a little heartless. I'm not going to stop until I prove who Jan France really is, and obviously, I'm not running. I'm here.”

Even though Allen is under investigation, charges have yet to be filed.

10/31/2013 Related Story: Tornado Relief Feud May Force Shawnee Family From Home