The CEO of a Forsyth County charity and his wife, who he recently filed a lawsuit against for allegedly diverting donations for her personal use, are now both under investigation for identity fraud and theft, according to authorities.
According to an incident report filed on July 26, but only recently obtained by the Forsyth County News, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has embarked on an investigation into misappropriation of funds and identity fraud allegedly perpetrated by Kevin and Jodi Ford, who at one time operated Kingdom Kids Charity Inc., a Forsyth County-based wish fulfillment charity.
The allegation of identity fraud, according to sheriff’s office reports, stems from claims that Kevin Ford, the charity’s CEO, allegedly used “identifying information of volunteers and employees and listed them as board members without their consent or knowledge in order to qualify for IRS exemptions.”
According to data from the Georgia Secretary of State’s Corporations Division, aside from CEO Kevin Ford, the Kingdom Kids Charity Inc., officer list includes two other individuals, a CFO and secretary.
Lynsi Williams, a Forsyth County resident, is listed as CFO. Williams told the FCN on Friday said that she was only a regular volunteer with the yearly Lily’s Run event and had no participation in the operation of Kingdom Kids.
“I volunteered at Lily’s Run each year because of my desire to support Lily and the Anderson family,” Williams said in an email. “I was never notified of their desire to nominate me as CFO, nor did I ever agree to accept this position.”
Williams also stated that within the last two weeks she was allegedly contacted by both Jodi and Kevin Ford, each stating the other had listed Williams as CFO without her knowledge.
Another individual, who was listed as the charity’s secretary, did not return the FCN’s request for comment as of press time, but a source close to the organization disputed the individual’s title, stating that like Williams it was likely conferred to her without her knowledge.
Kingdom Kids Charity Inc., according to a lawsuit filed in the Forsyth County Superior Court last week, was started in 2009 to “improve the quality of life for children facing challenging circumstances” and had as its primary fundraiser the annual event Lily’s Run, which was started in 2009 to support Lily Anderson, a Forsyth County resident who had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at the age of 8.
On July 22, lawyers for Kevin Ford filed the lawsuit of Kingdom Kids Charity Inc. v. Jodi Ford, alleging that over an unknown time period Jodi Ford, a volunteer employee of Kingdom Kids Charity and wife of Kevin Ford, the organization’s CEO, may have embezzled $130,000 in charitable donations.
The lawsuit also alleges that on or around May 15, Kevin Ford discovered “discrepancies” in the charity’s financial records, and when confronted, Jodi Ford allegedly admitted to Kevin Ford and others that she had appropriated “some assets and funds of Kingdom Kids to her own personal use” but “greatly” minimized her actions and conversions of the assets.
Previously sheriff's office spokesman Cpl. Doug Rainwater told the FCN that investigators had been alerted to the allegations made against Jodi Ford, but the case had been moved to an "inactive" or “unfounded” status because the alleged victim, Kevin Ford, had declined to press charges or provide them with any evidence of wrongdoing.
Attempts to reach an attorney for Kevin Ford were unsuccessful as of press time, but in a statement on Friday evening, Jodi Ford’s attorney Bill Thomas pointed to the phrase “unfounded” in the sheriff’s office report.
“The claim in Mr. Ford’s meritless civil action against Ms. Ford filed in the midst of an ugly divorce action, was, in the sheriff’s office’s own words, ‘ultimately unfounded,’” Thomas stated in an email. “We believe this was the correct determination, and any further investigation will result in the same conclusion as to Ms. Ford.”
On Friday, Rainwater stated that due to the new allegations, both Jodi and Kevin Ford are being investigated.