Former head of charity for sorority that counted Aretha Franklin, Betty Shabazz as members sentenced for embezzlement

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The former executive director of a charity run by Delta Sigma Theta, a century-old sorority whose notable members include Roberta Flack and Betty Shabazz, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for embezzling nearly a quarter million dollars from the group.

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Jeanine Henderson Arnett, 44, and her husband Diallo Arnett, 47, pleaded guilty earlier this year to using the charity’s credit cards to shop for rental cars, clothing, and purchases on Amazon.com. The pair were also accused of putting charity money directly into their bank accounts.

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In total, the couple misappropriated $228,000 from 2017 to 2019, prosecutors said. Jeanine Arnett was fired when witchcraft discovered the missing money.

Diallo Arnett was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison. The couple was also ordered to forfeit $228,000 in property and pay another $228,000 in restitution.

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Messages left with lawyers for Arnetts were not immediately returned.

a university institution

The sorority, which was founded at Howard University in 1913, has long been a highly-regarded institution in Black university life. The sorority has more than 1,000 collegiate and alumni chapters and has counted veterans from former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to spirit legend Aretha Franklin as members.

The charity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., which is based in Washington, DC, focuses on providing food aid for the hungry and aid for victims of domestic violence, as well as providing grants and other aid to students.

Phone calls to the sorority on Wednesday went unanswered because the group’s office was closed early for Thanksgiving.

In court filings, Arnetts said they had been struggling financially since 2014 when Diallo Arnett was diagnosed with severe kidney disease and was unable to continue working. He had a kidney transplant last year.

Jeanine Arnett said her husband had begun using his company’s credit card to cover costs and intended to return the money, but the debt soon got out of hand.

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