Police: Nonprofit's bookkeeper stole nearly $100,000 from disabled clients

Casey Grove

An Anchorage bookkeeper is charged with stealing more than $90,000 from her nonprofit employer's disabled clients, including money for their rent and funds set aside for their funerals.

Alleged embezzler Ruby Monilla Brooks, 35, faces several felony counts of theft, fraud and impersonation, among other charges.

Brooks worked for Assets Inc. and pilfered the bank accounts of the developmentally disabled and mentally ill people the nonprofit serves, according to a charging document filed in court earlier this month. The nonprofit manages its clients' accounts and issues checks for things like rent.

The charges, written by Anchorage Detective Darren Hernandez, lay out the case against Brooks:

Assets' director of administrative services, Susan Newsome, called police on April 30. Newsome said Brooks, the bookkeeper since 2008, admitted to "gross mismanagement of funds" when Newsome asked her about a client's unpaid rent. Brooks wrote a three-page confession saying she had been stealing clients' money to pay her own bills, well aware that what she was doing was illegal. Newsome also found out that Brooks had drained accounts set aside to pay for the clients' burials when they die.

Bank statements showed Brooks took almost $52,693 from nearly 28 accounts in 2013 alone, the charges say. Newsome initially thought that was all the money stolen, but the detective learned through further investigating that it was far more. (Police, in a written statement, said detectives have since found out she took $93,603). Brooks had used methods other than simply transferring the funds or depositing checks she wrote herself.

For example, in one case Brooks signed up a client for an Old Navy credit card, on which she made fraudulent charges. In an interview, Brooks also told the detective she took vacations to Las Vegas twice while the theft was ongoing and would access clients' accounts to get cash when her money was running low.

That alleged admission came when detectives went to Brooks' home to talk to her in May. Brooks told them the theft started in 2011 when she was going broke.

"Brooks continued by stating that she did that, and it went to a point where she just kept doing it, and then going from one client's account to another," the charges say. "Brooks continued to do it hoping that she would be able to put the money back, but things kept coming up, and the client's account kept getting messed up, and she would have to go into another client's account to fix it."

Her mother and father had been very sick, Brooks explained, and she had to take time off of work to help them get to doctors appointments.

Brooks said she told her husband on April 29 what she had been doing and that the money she was transferring to him and her mother was not hers. Her husband said she needed to tell Assets and drove her to work, where she confessed. Brooks was served this week with a summons to appear in court Tuesday.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.