Union Co drug tester arrested
Posted in the Blairsville Forum
#1 Oct 3, 2013
Posted: Thursday, October 3rd 2013 at 6:07pm
Counseling center co-owner faces charges in GBI probe
By Derreck Booth Editor
EMAIL STORY CONTACT EDITOR PRINT
click to enlarge
GAINESVILLE - The Director of New Hope Counseling turned herself in to the Hall County Jail Wednesday to face charges in connection with a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into the service.
Christine Zurblis, 37, is charged with two counts of false statements and one count of theft by taking in Hall County, according to GBI spokesperson Sherry Lang. Zurblis was transferred to the Union County jail where she was charged with four counts of first degree forgery, according to Lang.
New Hope provided group counseling and drug testing services to the Enotah Judicial Circuit accountability courts.
The investigation started last month, when according to the GBI, Enotah Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Raymond George requested it.
The investigation relates to supplies allegedly purchased by New Hope, but allegedly not provided to the Enotah accountability courts. Judge George noted the accountability courts in Lumpkin and Union Counties were operating with minimal supplies and equipment, according to the GBI.
Agents executed search warrants September 25, at New Hope offices at 322 Spring Street in Gainesville and 330 Dahlonega Street in Cumming.
Kim Williams, Special Agent in Charge at the GBI office in Cleveland, on Thursday said she couldn't go into details on the charges.
"We wouldn't be willing to talk about it at this time since the case will soon be turned over to the district attorney's offices for prosecution."
A few days after the initial search warrants, New Hope owners, Zurblis and Kimberly Waters-Rose, issued a statement through their attorney saying that they believe they are the "victims of a very unfortunate misunderstanding over our accounting and use of supplies and equipment secured under two state grants."
The attorney, Graham McKinnon IV, issued a statement Thursday following the charges being filed against Zurblis.
"I have a great deal of confidence in Christine's character and integrity. She is a great person who is dedicated to helping others. Obviously, we were disappointed to learn of the arrest warrants. Because the government has chosen to take the matter in this direction, we have no choice but go to trial. We must rely upon a jury to dispense justice. In this case, there will be no justice until her name is cleared," McKinnon said.
As far as the case goes, Williams said it is continuing.
"At this time the case is still ongoing on various parts of the information that we received during the course of the service of the search warrants," Williams said.
#2 Oct 3, 2013
Seems every time I see the words Enotah Circuit it is attached to a story about a corrupt judge, corrupt lawyer, corrupt DA or some other corrupt individual associated with the Enotah Circuit.
#3 Oct 3, 2013
This has been going on through history in this Circuit.. it handed through many generations.. js
#4 Oct 4, 2013
Maybe you didn't read the whole article, but it was a judge who initiated the investigation. There are two relatively new judges in this circuit, and Raymond George is the one who asked for the GBI to investigate. New Hope counseling are private contractors. The Enotah Circut has terminated their contract with them. Hall county, however, continues to do business with a corrupt company.
#5 Oct 4, 2013
I read the article. And it is another story about corruption either in, or on the fringes of, the Enotah Circuit. Rootin Tootin Pistol Packin Little Yosemite Sam isn't a judge anyomre. Alderman is gone. Now New Hope is gone. But Gunter is still on the Bench. Langley is still doing his job selctively prosecuting people and turning his head on other crimes. Plenty of other stories to list also. What's your point?
Mine was that story after story after story about some sort of bad behavior regarding the Enotah Circuit has become something to be expected.
#6 Oct 4, 2013
As I said this is the "History" of this district. Thousands of dollars missing during Gunters watch and its " just bad book keeping" really. What about the surgery swap for hiding a possible drug conviction. They think people don't know the truth about this. Its all blatant and in your face out right violation of the law.. It takes a while they are under investigation.. we are just impatient. time is on our side.. they are not ammune to violations of the law..
#7 Oct 5, 2013
This isn't the fault of the Enotah circuit. This is the fault of one or 2 individuals who happen to work for New Hope Counseling of Gainesville. Enotah didn't tell these people to commit illegal acts.These few individuals made a decision to falsify documents for their own financial gain. Please don't confuse these few with others who are passionate about helping people.
#8 Oct 5, 2013
Maybe they will investigate why Gunter covered up the Judy Spiva case instead of prosecuting her.
#9 Oct 5, 2013
and the other 250K missing under his reign..
#10 Oct 6, 2013
Posted: Friday, August 30th 2013 at 9:02am
Angel Food founders sentenced to federal prison
By The Associated Press
MONROE - A federal judge sentenced the founder of a food ministry service and his son to seven years in federal prison Thursday on money laundering and conspiracy charges.
Angel Food Ministries founder Wesley Joseph Wingo, 64, and his son, Andrew, 40, were sentenced in U.S. District Court. Wingo's wife and the organization's co-founder Linda Wingo, 64, was sentenced to five years of probation for concealing evidence of criminal activity.
The Monroe-based tax-exempt ministry was supposed to provide food to the poor at discounted prices. Wesley Wingo, of Good Hope, used millions of the charity's money to buy jewelry, cars and gambling trips, investigators have said.
Wesley Wingo admitted to investigators that he used his position with the charity for personal gain and allowed family members to do the same. He tried concealing the misapplication of the charity's funds by issuing bonuses to relatives, prosecutors said.
Wesley and Andrew Wingo pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Wesley Wingo is also ordered to forfeit more than $1.5 million and pay a $15,000 fine, prosecutors said.
Andrew Wingo admitted to using his position as chief operating officer and head of procurement to buy a house with the charity's money, prosecutors said. He's been ordered to forfeit $2.4 million.
Linda Wingo pleaded guilty to concealing criminal activity and authorities said she tried hiding facts related to the case when authorities executed a search warrant. She's ordered to pay a $25,000 criminal fine.
"The Wingos exploited family, friends and neighbors by perpetrating a scheme that was based on lies," Internal Revenue Service Special Agent In Charge Veronica Hyman-Pillot said in a statement.
The charity was founded in 1994 and the family was given a $7 million low-interest loan from the United States Department of Agriculture in 2005, officials said. The charity grew from local to regional then national in scope, and used churches across the country as host sites to garner donations and distribute food with the help of thousands of volunteers, prosecutors said.
A former employee, Harry Michaels, has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
#11 Oct 6, 2013
Worker embezzlements schemes are at a five-year high as of the Boston-based security firm Marquet International's latest count, as AOL Jobs has reported. Indeed, 2012 saw the uncovering of 538 instances of employee fraud worth more than $100,000. Many schemes that began at the beginning of the financial crisis are only now coming to light. But amid such rampant employee theft, some cases still stand out for their shocking nature. Take, for instance, the charge being levied against 66-year old Sharon Warunek, a resident of Lackawanna County in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Warunek worked for 27 years at the Diocese of Scranton. And over that time, she's alleged to have stolen at least $340,000 from the church's charitable donations fund, the money from which is handed over to a variety of causes for the poor. Warunek held the title of office manager at the church's Society for the Propagation of the Faith and so opened the mail and handled the checks that were sent to the office. She's said to have used the money to pay for monthly charges on a Discover credit card with "clockwork regularity," in the words of Pennsylvania-based newspaper, Citizens' Voice.
On Thursday, Warunek surrendered at the Lackawanna Courthouse and was charged with one count each of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property. It's a "sad reality that there will always be individuals who seek to exploit and circumvent whatever system that is in place," Scranton Bishop Joseph D. Bambera said in a statement. Warunek's bounty may in fact be greater than $340,000; the statute of limitations on the theft only covers the last seven years. Officials estimate the amount stolen before 2006 to be around $80,000.
How did the fraud get uncovered? In August, an official with the Diocese noticed a check for $6,000 was made out to a credit card the diocese had no awareness of. The investigation soon made it to the district attorney's office, which discovered 83 mysterious payments dating back to February 2006, as was reported by local television outlet WNEP. And the Discover card was allegedly under Warunek's name and address, according to the court affidavit.
Why would she have done it? Warunek was suspended without pay on Aug. 21 by the church. And on Sept. 6, she was fired. She's hired William Peters of nearby Clark Summit as her lawyer. He told AOL Jobs no comment was being made to the press as he had to review the evidence. Warunek is currently free on $25,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 20, as Fox News reported.
Who's more likely to commit fraud in the workplace? As remarkable as an allegation may be of someone stealing from a fund devoted to helping the poor, the fact that a women is being accused is not. According to the Marquet report, nearly two out of three alleged embezzlers from last year were female. Why might that be? It seems women simply tend to have greater access to steal money, as they are more likely to occupy bookkeeping positions that have access to the coffers, as Chris Marquet, CEO of Marquet International, previously told AOL Jobs.
And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 90 percent of bookkeepers in the country were women in 2010, the last year for which information is available.
It should also come as no surprise that a religious organization was hit. One out of every eight schemes revealed last year was at a non-profit or religious organization, according to Marquet's reporting. That too shouldn't come as a surprise, says Marquet. Such institutions typically "have very weak control systems," he also told AOL Jobs. "They're not operating on big budgets that allow them to spend money on accountants.
#12 Oct 14, 2013
I hope New Hope goes out of business...those crooks.
#13 Oct 15, 2013
I bet North Georgia Counseling is next. They seem shady and corrupt as can be.
#14 Oct 15, 2013
Blairsville and Union Co.have for several years had
the most useless and corrupt law enforcement in the region.They are scorned and not trusted by other local, state and federal agencies.
#15 Oct 17, 2013
North Georgia is under new ownership. I can't speak for the new owners, but the previous owners were absolutely dedicated to helping those they served. As a former drug court participant myself, I would know. They saved my life. So say what you want about things you know nothing about, but no money went missing when they ran drug court and the success rate was one of the highest in the state.
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