Main Line Mom Accused of Embezzling Thousands from Local Organization

The strange, sad saga of Keisha Parker.

Keisha Parker at an event on the Main Line.

Keisha Parker at an event on the Main Line.

Before making someone the treasurer of your organization, here’s a tip: Do a background check. That is the lesson being learned by one suburban group that claims that its recent treasurer stole thousands of dollars from the coffer.

The Main Line Newcomers Club has accused 41-year-old Wynnewood mom Keisha Parker of embezzling thousands from the group, which organizes social outings, book clubs, dinners and “foreign language chats” for residents of the Main Line and, as the name would suggest, reaches out to new residents to welcome them. The group raises money through member dues and activity fees. Although police are reportedly investigating the theft, no one has been arrested or charged.

Parker was the treasurer of the Main Line Newcomers Club from 2014 until earlier this month, when club president Kim O’Neill of Radnor says she discovered that funds were missing from the club bank accounts.

“We had been suspicious that something was up for a little while,” says O’Neill. “We were not happy with the quality of treasury reports she had been providing. So, we decided to replace her, and when it came time for her to transfer the accounts over to the new treasurer, that’s when we realized we had a problem.”

O’Neill says that the group hasn’t figured out exactly how much is missing — a forensic accounting audit is underway — but places the number “easily in the several thousand dollar range” and not more than $10,000. She says that when Parker was confronted with the accusation, she offered to pay the money back, and O’Neill confirms that Parker has already paid back a “small amount.”

O’Neill says she filed a police report with the Radnor Police Department and Philadelphia magazine has learned that detectives are investigating. The Main Line Newcomers Club sent out a letter to all members of the group over the weekend, notifying them of the allegations. The Radnor Police Department would not comment on this article.

It turns out that this isn’t the first time that Parker has been accused of stealing money. In 2008, Parker was arrested in Philadelphia and charged with one felony count each of forgery and theft, as well as several other misdemeanor offenses, after homeless charity Project H.O.M.E. accused her of using a check fraud scheme to steal nearly $1,000 from them. According to Project H.O.M.E. counsel Stacey Rabbino, Parker began working as the accounting manager for the charity in 2006.

Parker eventually made a deal, pleading guilty to the one felony theft count, and avoided jail time, which could have easily been measured in years. After paying back the full amount that she stole from Project H.O.M.E., Parker was sentenced to a maximum of five years probation.

And that may not be all. North Carolina court records indicate that Parker was living in Charlotte in 2000, when she was extradited to Delaware, where she once resided. Those North Carolina court records describe Parker as a “fugitive” but offer no further clues to why she was extradited. As for Delaware’s courts, we couldn’t find any case under her name.

So how on earth did she wind up as the treasurer of the Main Line Newcomers Club? The answer can be found in O’Neill’s response when we asked her about the theft conviction: “Oh my god. We’re an all-volunteer organization. We don’t do criminal background checks.”

But Parker’s position as treasurer of the Main Line Newcomers Club is small potatoes when you consider this: She is also executive director of a 501c3 non-profit organization known as the Pennsylvania Youth Consortium. And what is the mission of that group, you ask? Here it is straight from the organization’s website: “The Pennsylvania Youth Consortium for Financial Literacy focuses on creating financially responsible youth.”

We reached out to Parker this week to talk about all of this. Within 24 hours of our first phone contact with her, her bio page from the PA Youth Consortium website had been deleted. As you can see in this screenshot of that page, taken on Wednesday, Parker is described as a licensed CPA in New Jersey:

keisha-parker-main-line-newcomers-club

But according to the New Jersey government’s Division of Consumer Affairs, there is no accounting license of any kind assigned to the name Keisha Parker or under her maiden name. As for the assertion that Parker holds two degrees from Drexel, the university confirms that this is accurate.

Also deleted in the last several days was a GoFundMe page set up by Parker in 2014. According to a cached version of that crowdfunding campaign, its stated purpose was to raise money for high school seniors who don’t have enough money to travel to prospective colleges. The goal was set at $25,000, and it is unclear how much was donated or how that money was spent.

For someone at the helm of a financial literacy organization for kids, Parker has had her share of financial troubles beyond the theft conviction and the new accusation. According to court records, in 2011, she declared bankruptcy, and in 2015, Wells Fargo Bank won a $114,787 judgment against her in a foreclosure action on a home she owned on 77th Street in Philadelphia.

Parker has not responded to repeated requests for comment via email. We reached her at the PA Youth Consortium office on Wednesday and asked her about the Newcomers’ allegations, her criminal past, the discrepancy over her CPA license, and whether she’s the right person to be in charge of a financial literacy non-profit for children.

“No comment,” was all she had to say.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.