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Former Official of Pride South Florida Thief


The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., police department is investigating claims by Pride South Florida that one of the organization's former officers embezzled more than $40,000 from its coffers.

South Florida Gay News reports that Mike Cruz, once a member of Pride South Florida's board and its treasurer, is accused of "dubious and suspicious" cash transactions in the excess of $40,000. Pride South Florida organizes Fort Lauderdale's annual Pridefest, and the discovery of the alleged misappropriation of funds occurred in May, shortly after Pridefest 2009.

Then-board members Roger Handevidt and Laurie Whittaker were informed of suspicious transactions by a banking official. Handevidt and Whittaker confided in the Pride South Florida board, which then removed Cruz as a signatory to its accounts and as a board member. "At the same time, a former board member sought to confront Cruz about his conduct, but discovered he had been hospitalized, and was unconscious at Broward General [Hospital], in what that source told SFGN could only be described as an 'apparent suicide attempt.'"

The Fort Lauderdale police are still investigating the alleged theft and aren't speaking publicly about the status of the case.

Read the full story here.

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