[nfbmi-talk] Another desired model for BS4BP

Terry D. Eagle terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 18 19:20:45 UTC 2014

Ex-director of Oregon disabilities nonprofit gets 90 days in jail for
stealing from organization

Everton Bailey Jr. | ebailey at oregonian.com

The former director of a now-closed nonprofit agency that aimed to help
people with disabilities was sentenced Tuesday to three months in jail for

state and federal grant money given to the organization for at least six


Janice Roberts, executive director of

Oregon RISE

until she resigned in June 2012, cried as she apologized in Marion County
Circuit Court. Since Roberts' resignation, the state Department of Education

pulled more than $500,000 in grants

from Oregon RISE, the

nonprofit's board disbanded

and the agency shut down.


"I was greedy," said Roberts, who also was sentenced to 90 days of
electronic home monitoring after her jail sentence and three years of
probation. "I should

not have acted on my impulses like I did."


Roberts' attorney and prosecutors asked Circuit Judge Susan Tripp to
sentence Roberts to no more than 30 days in jail or to have the sentence
spent at home

so she could care for her 20-year-old daughter, who is developmentally


But the judge said the impact that Roberts' theft had on other families who
relied on her nonprofit's services was reason for a longer jail sentence.


"You're right. The bottom line is that you were greedy," Tripp said to
Roberts. "You didn't care about the other people who you were going to hurt.

just wanted a lot of money."


Tripp told Roberts that she would be on "an express bus" to prison for a
two-year term if her probation is revoked.


Roberts, 50, of Wilsonville

pleaded guilty last month

to two counts of first-degree aggravated theft. She will have to pay more
than $78,000 in restitution for stealing from

Oregon RISE

and the National Indian Parent Information Center, which provided similar
services under the Oregon RISE umbrella. The $57,238 in restitution owed to

RISE will go to the Oregon Department of Education.


The National Indian Parent Information Center is owed $21,142 in


Roberts resigned from Oregon RISE amid reports of unpaid bills and
questionable finances. She

was indicted

in June 2013. The Salem nonprofit used to be called the Oregon Parent
Information and Training Center.


Roberts has already paid $20,000 in restitution and another $60,000 is in a
trust to pay for the rest, according to her attorney, Robin Runstein. The

also said that her client "poured her heart and soul" into Oregon RISE while
she was the nonprofit's executive director.


"I do recognize in the face of the current charges that may not be an
entirely fair statement," Runstein said.


Roberts stole money at least between July 2006 and March 2012, court records


The full amount Roberts stole from both groups, as well as what she did with
all of the stolen funds, is still unclear, according to Marion County Deputy

District Attorney Doug Prince. Part of the theft included taking funds from
one group to replace money taken from another and in other cases Roberts put

Oregon RISE money into her own account and used part of it to pay for some
of the nonprofit's services, Prince said.


Randy Anderson, a former Oregon RISE board member who was also in a prior
relationship with Roberts, said last month that he saw Roberts spend a lot

money on video poker.


After Roberts' problems surfaced, the state gave the grant instead to FACT
Oregon, a Clackamas County-based organization that works with families with

children, Anderson said.


Diane Wiscarson, who was vice president of Oregon RISE's board, called
Roberts a "thief and a liar" who took trust, money and services away from

that included Roberts' own family.


When board members confronted Roberts initially about Oregon RISE's
finances, Wiscarson said the then-executive director revealed several years
of unpaid

payroll taxes and IRS notices. The criminal investigation, closure of the
organization, lost services and other fallout from Roberts' theft left many

who were worked for Oregon RISE questioning whether they should volunteer
their time to important causes ever again, Wiscarson said.


"We hope that Janice Roberts takes full advantage of all rehabilitation
opportunities available to her," Wiscarson said in court. "It would be our

that she become an honest and productive person at some time in her life."


Roberts, who came to court with her younger teenage daughter, acknowledged
Oregon RISE was created to help families like her own. She said her actions

left her "very, very ashamed."


"It's been something that has been eating at me for years," Roberts said.


Many families relied on Roberts to help navigate them through services for
disabled children and she failed them, the judge said.


"That's why you need to go to jail," Tripp told Roberts. "That's why you
need to sit in there and think about all of the people who were depending on

Not the faces you saw, but the faces that you didn't see."


-- Everton Bailey Jr.






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