10/10/19 – Ex-director accused of embezzling $20K from Habitat for Humanity

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI –(Mlive) – The former executive director of Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity is accused of embezzling from the organization, and using some of the money to take his family to Disney World.

Andrew Paul Mann, 35, of Laketon Township has been charged with embezzlement of between $1,000 and $20,000 from a nonprofit organization, which is a 10-year felony.

The prosecutor’s office alleges he took just over $21,000, but the amount could exceed $50,000, said Muskegon County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Timothy Maat.

It’s alleged that between October 2017 and July 2019, Mann used a company credit card for cash advances and personal expenses, Maat said. It’s believed that at least some of that money was used to take Mann’s family to Disney World, he said.

Mann did not respond to MLive’s repeated requests for comment.

Muskegon County Habitat for Humanity changed its name to Solid Rock Housing Support earlier this year. At the same time, it switched its focus from building new homes for low-income families to renovating homes and providing other housing supports to families in need, according to its website.

MLive reached out to Solid Rock seeking a statement regarding the allegations against Mann. The written response from Community Relations Manager Christi Burmeister hints at the damage Mann’s alleged crime caused to the organization and its clients, and apologizes for his alleged actions.

“Fortunately, we have been blessed by a local philanthropist who purchased and will service the mortgages that our organization helped underwrite for our families. Nobody should see a difference in their monthly bill,” the statement reads.

“We are working with local authorities to recover damages and are seeking to recoup Andrew’s unauthorized charges to creditors. We tightened our procedures and chain of accountability to ensure that this isolated incident never happens again. We will continue to repair homes, refresh communities and renovate lives throughout Muskegon County.

“We appreciate our community, our families and our employees for supporting us through this difficult time.”

Mann worked for Habitat for Humanity from June 2017 until March 2019 when he was terminated for “several reasons,” Maat said. Following his departure, an internal audit was performed that raised concerns that money had been misappropriated and the Muskegon Police Department was contacted, he said.

Mann was arraigned on Sept. 26 and posted a $10,000 cash or surety bond to be released from jail. His preliminary examination is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Oct. 14 before Muskegon County District Judge Harold Closz.