Animals First Foundation founder guilty of embezzling over $530,000
AFF president provides statement to West Seattle Herald
The founder of Animals First Foundation, Carina Sunga Borja, an Admiral resident, was found guilty July 30 of embezzlement.
Heather Johnson Enajibi, President of Animals First Foundation, told the West Seattle Herald:
"AFF was and remains an exceptional non profit organization devoted to animal welfare. AFF has never misappropriated donor funds and such allegations are false and vindictive. Our books are open to prove that donations made to AFF were used for the animals and not personal gain. Ms. Borja, the AFF founder has fallen into disrepute for her earlier indiscretions. She has accepted responsibility for her error and pleaded guilty. The guilty plea pertains to charges that in no way allege or insinuate that she embezzled funds from AFF for her personal gain. Yet this is extremely damaging and the false rumors are being circulated by malicious individuals. She has not served on our board since 2009 nor is she an officer."
King County Superior Court documents from Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Satterberg state:
In April 2006. Victims Jabe Blumenthal and Julie Edsforth hired Carina Sunga Borja as a bookkeeper/assistant~ Borja's main responsibilities were to maintain and balance their electronic personal financial records, using a software program (Microsoft Money). Borja was eventually given authorization to transfer funds from their brokerage account into their checking account by email and phone.
On September 25 2008, Blumenthal's tax accountant informed him that a payment due in April had not been paid Borja was responsible for sending the lax payment. Blumenthal and Edsforth investigated the matter and found several discrepancies in their financial records. Blumenthal and Edsfoth requested canceled checks from their bank. When the checks arrived, They discovered a total of twenty unauthorized checks written to Borja.
The checks totaled $530,000.
On October 1 2008, the victims along with Witness Matthew Green confronted Borja regarding the theft. Borja confessed to the theft and said she needed the money to start a non-profit agency to assist victim animals from Hurricane Katrina.
Borja provided her bank statements and account numbers to Blumenthal. Borja was then released from employment. Blumenthal provided a notebook containing detailed records of the fraudulent transactions along with copies of the unauthorized checks.
I reviewed !he check copies and confirmed that the checks had been written to Borja in increments ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 with dates spanning July 11 2006 through August 28, 2008.
I spoke with Blumenthal by phone and he confirmed that Borja was not authorized to use this money in this manner. Blumenthal further explained lhat Borja concealed this activity by making matching deposits and withdrawls on the checking accounl on the same day in order to avoid detection of significant balance fluctuations."