Funding restored for Florida AIDS group involved in embezzlement scandal
The Broward County Commission this week voted to restore federal Ryan White funding to the embattled AIDS Project Florida, which is under investigation after a former employee admitted to embezzling money from the organization, the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports. The county human services department froze $1.5 million in federal funds to the agency when the embezzlement was first reported, but funding was restored this week when the commission decided that the embezzlement appeared to be an isolated incident. Funding has been restored on a month-to-month basis, but it could be suspended if further financial irregularities are discovered, commissioners say. The board voted to restore the money to ensure that HIV-positive people in the area have uninterrupted access to treatment, care, and support programs.
Former APF chief financial officer William Diamond admitted through his attorney to embezzling funds from the organization, and an internal audit showed he may have stolen up to $59,000 from the agency. Broward County human services director Marlene Wilson said the federal Health Resources and Services Administration, which administers Ryan White AIDS grants, has been notified about the embezzlement. An internal audit by APF partially blames the scandal on loosened fiscal policies enacted at the agency in early 2003.