SPRINGFIELD, IL -- It's an example of what can go wrong when one person has too much power in an organization and there's little or no oversight. In this case, a major national organization was swindled out of thousands of dollars.
U.S. Postal Inspector Basil Demczak said, "There was too much trust placed in this one person... to run the organization." That "one" person is Margaret Davis, the long-time program director of the National Black Nurses Association.
Demczak said, "She was a person everyone trusted, she was the go-to person, she was the one politically connected and people assumed she would do the right thing... and that's where things broke down."
One of Davis' responsibilities was to apply for grant money. Davis told agencies the money would be used for health care advocacy including student nursing assistance.
Demczak said, "She knew how to write grant applications and it was very simple for her to do what she has been doing for a long time, then at one point she decided to go the wrong way."
It was a total of approximately 15 grants over 1 million dollars in grants and half a million dollars was diverted to benefit Margaret Davis and an accomplice. Inspectors say they used it to pay credit cards, personal things, mortgage, and give money to family and friends and big vacations.
Postal inspectors started tracking the case and found many in the nurses association were unaware of what has happening. Demczak said, "People in the organization had no idea these grants were even applied for and awarded in their own organization."
Inspectors say "checks and balances" are key for any organization. Demczak said, "You have to have good segregation of duties and you have to have oversight on your board otherwise things like this happen."
Davis pleaded guilty to 14 counts of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering. She was sentenced to almost 4 years in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $370,000 in restitution.
US Postal Inspectors/WFMY News 2