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Volunteer with charity charged with theft

| Thursday, June 7, 2012, 7:09 p.m.

The Allegheny County District Attorney's Office charged a Moon man with stealing more than $60,000 from a Pittsburgh-based charity, even though he repaid the money several months ago.

Another Allegheny County nonprofit where Joshua DeNinno volunteered said he did not have access to its bank accounts.

DeNinno referred questions to his Downtown attorney, David Shrager, who said the case can be traced to "sloppy banking decisions."

"Rather than an attempt of doing actual malfeasance, it was a series of sloppy banking decisions and lack of knowledge where all the different funds were going. He's eager to address this and do the right thing."

DeNinno, 34, is charged with theft and misapplication of entrusted property. Police said he took $60,897 from Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council beginning in 2009, moving money from its bank account to a personal account, and used the money for personal expenses. Police said the charity discovered money was missing when it filed a tax return last year.

Once a charity board member emailed DeNinno about the money in July, according to a criminal complaint, DeNinno began paying back the money, but stopped in September, almost $8,500 short. The nonprofit, which helps promote charitable estate planning, sued, police said, and DeNinno repaid the rest of the money in February.

The DA's office charged him on May 31, months after the president of the charity contacted authorities. Detective William Miller wrote that DeNinno's repayments "are considered an admission of guilt."

DeNinno is treasurer for the North Shore Community Alliance in Manchester and the Samaritan Counseling Center in Sewickley, and he is co-founder of the charity Lend-A-Hand for Appalachia in West Virginia, police said.

Beth Healey, director of development and marketing at Samaritan, said DeNinno was treasurer for the board of directors, meaning he presented financial reports at board meetings, in addition to helping to prepare the annual budget. He didn't have access to money and wasn't authorized to sign financial documents or checks, Healey said. An audit last year didn't find any problems.

The organization learned of the charges yesterday and hadn't decided his status, she said.

Carol Washington, executive director of the North Shore Community Alliance, said she wanted to speak to the agency's attorney before commenting.

Board directors for Lend-A-Hand didn't return emailed requests for comment.

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