Former Philly nonprofit director sentenced for embezzling funds for children

A Delaware woman will spend the next two and a half years in prison after she pleaded guilty to charges that she embezzled more than $600,000 from Northern Children’s Services, a nonprofit that provides mental and behavior treatment services to children in Philadelphia.

On Wednesday, the city’s Office of the Inspector General announced that Sonja McQuillar, 50, of New Castle, Delaware, was sentenced that morning on charges that she had embezzled funds from the nonprofit where she served as director of Health and Information. She will also be required to pay restitution and spend three years on parole.

In February, McQuillar pleaded guilty after investigators found that, from December 2002 to April 2014, McQuillar created consulting invoices for friends and relatives — who, the inspector general’s office noted, were never consultants for the nonprofit — and for individuals who did no work in return.

McQuillar then forged signatures in order to cash checks to the tune of $607,067.

“This case is an example of the most damaging kind of theft. The defendant stole taxpayer dollars that were meant to support at-risk children. We will not tolerate this kind of self-serving act against vulnerable members of our population,” said Inspector General Amy Kurland, in a statement.

In a statement, acting U.S. Attorney Louis D. Lappen said that McQuillar’s crimes targeted some of the most vulnerable members of the Philadelphia community, depriving them of funding that could have helped them “overcome trauma and behavioral disorders.”

“McQuillar embezzled more than $600,000 from a nonprofit organization that existed to benefit our most vulnerable youth,” he said. “In doing so, the defendant deprived these children of much needed public funds that were designed to help them overcome trauma and behavioral disorders. We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who, for their own personal benefit, abuse the trust of public and private organizations.”

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