On March 20, 2017, the Michigan Attorney General’s office released a statement regarding the charges brought against Dian Stephens, 53, of Flushing, Michigan, for obstruction of justice and six felony embezzlement charges levied against her. The charges come after allegations that she misused nearly $20,000 in charitable gaming funds that were intended for her charity for children.
In September 2016, Stephens was originally charged with the six counts of felony embezzlement after an investigation into her area “poker room” called Pocket Aces, by the Attorney General’s office and the Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”). However, on March 6, 2017, Stephens was arrested and an additional charge of Obstruction of Justice was brought against her after she presented allegedly falsified documents during a Genesee County Circuit Court appearance.
“This woman claimed she wanted to help Flint kids, but instead it appears she used her charity as a front to bolster herself personally,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. “This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated and instead of facing up to her alleged actions, Ms. Stephens allegedly continued to try and shirk the law. In a city that has already suffered so much, I take any allegations very seriously.”
In total, Stephens is charged with the following:
· one count of Obstruction of Justice; a felony punishable by up to five years in prison;
· three felony counts of embezzlement of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000 from a nonprofit or charitable organization; each charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison; and
· three five-year felony counts of embezzlement-agent or trustee of $1,000 or more but less than $20,000; each charge carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.
“Unfortunately, this person allegedly used a fake charity to raise money, diverted funds for personal use and gave false evidence to thwart justice,” said Richard Kalm, MGCB Executive Director. “The MGCB wants people held accountable for illegal behavior so they don’t taint charities that do the right thing. We enforce Michigan laws to protect the public and the integrity of the games. We also seek restitution for those who may be harmed by any illegal charitable gaming-related behavior.”