Melissa Goodwin, a Nashville woman who was a top executive at the T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research, allegedly embezzled almost $4 million, according to a release from the Department of Justice.
The foundation receives in-kind donations from celebrities in the music industry. The organization auctions these items or experiences in order to fund cancer research.
According to the group’s website, it focuses on “innovative medical research focused on finding treatments and cures for cancer” and has raised more than $280 million for research grants.
Goodwin worked for the organization for approximately 15 years, becoming executive vice president and general manager from 2018 until July 2020.
Because of her authority, she allegedly used a credit card from the foundation in her own name to purchase tickets to notable events, like concerts or sporting events. These purchases were not for business authorized by the foundation.
According to the DOJ, she would then use a third party to sell the tickets.
“Goodwin provided these tickets to an individual in New York City who owned and operated a charity auction business. This business conducted auctions for clients, offering consignment items such as event tickets and sports memorabilia to the clients for use in their auctions. As part of the scheme, Goodwin led this individual to believe that she had acquired the tickets at no cost or at a discounted rate. Goodwin also used the Foundation’s credit card to purchase other items that were not for legitimate Foundation purposes, such as expensive and rare alcohols, plane tickets, and hotel stays. She then used the Foundation’s bank accounts to pay the credit card charges,” the release detailed.
In an effort to cover up her crimes, the former executive allegedly falsified credit card statements after using the organization’s money to pay the charges. Additionally, she is accused of forging the signature of the foundation’s CEO on multiple checks.
Goodwin was charged with wire fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Additionally, the DOJ is seeking the forfeiture of at least $3.7 million.
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