STOCKTON — A Stockton charity that helps the homeless has been shut down amid allegations of embezzlement. The co-founder on the receiving end of those complaints is defending herself, saying she’s the victim.
It’s a classic she said versus she said story.
“She’s preying on innocent people and it makes me sick!” said Kristine Thornton.
“I’m not the first woman she’s done this to,” said Nancy Lamb.
Two Stockton women who both claim they were on the losing end of payments that were supposed to fund a nonprofit application for Stockton 209 Cares — a local organization that helps the less fortunate through its Facebook posts, back to school events and outreach services.
“I did some more research, found out there was no nonprofit,” Thornton said.
Thornton said she donated $600 of the $900 raised through a YouCaring account, in addition to thousands more in personal purchases, much of which she believes Stockton 209 Cares co-founder Nancy Lamb pocketed for herself.
“Why do I owe them any explanation? Why do I need to send them anything when you’re gonna slam me before I can even respond?” Lamb said.
Lamb says she would have been happy to send Thornton the paperwork that Thornton claims she refused to send — a 1023 EZ form, a 501(c)(3) form that appears to have been filed last March and shows that the group’s nonprofit status is active through the state treasurer’s website.
Except she says Thornton and other members of 209 Cares took their suspicions to Facebook first.
“Don’t ask for something and then bash them online, you’re not gonna get the response you want,” Lamb said.
Lamb said she has never misappropriated any money meant for 209 cares. She admits she did take loans from Thornton for her grandfather’s obituary and for a car payment. And Thornton admits she forgave some of those loans.
“I forgave the loan because I don’t like people owing me, and I thought she was legit. I was not out there to screw her over, I was out there to love her,” Thornton said.
Thornton says she’s since filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. But she says she didn’t want it to come to this — the close of 209 Cares and a falling out between friends.
Stockton 209 Cares was registered through the state as a nonprofit, but according to the IRS website, it appears it was never registered federally. FOX40 spoke to the other co-founder, Nick Burnett, on Monday. He says he has re-branded the group as 209 Community Cares. They say they will continue the work they’ve been doing, including a children’s backpack giveaway this summer. No criminal charges have been filed in this case.