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Press Release

Former Director Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Domestic Violence Shelter

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the former director of a domestic violence shelter in Lebanon, Mo., has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $30,800 from the shelter.


Mary Young, 64, of Estes Park, Colo., waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, to a federal information that charges her with credit card fraud.


Young was hired on Aug. 1, 2008, as the executive director of Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment (COPE), a domestic violence shelter located in Lebanon.  Young resigned on June 10, 2014, and the fraud was detected following her resignation.


Young was given two credit cards, both issued to COPE, to facilitate the purchasing of goods and services needed to operate the shelter and to serve their clients. Young admitted that she fraudulently used both credit cards to make unauthorized personal purchases (i.e., gas for a vehicle, restaurant bills, clothing, travel, liquor and groceries). Young’s fraudulent purchases began on Sept. 16, 2008, shortly after being hired, and ended on May 19, 2014, shortly before she resigned.


Young admitted that she spent more than $25,000 for numerous personal purchases using one of the credit cards, and more than $5,800 using the second credit card.


Under federal statutes, Young is subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the FBI.

Updated January 29, 2016

Financial Fraud