Woman accused of stealing over $180K from East St. Louis charity

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Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 12:59 PM CDT
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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV) - A 40-year-old woman accused of stealing over $180,000 from a Metro East charity was sentenced Monday.

Kenesha Burlison, 40, of St. Louis, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for stealing thousands of dollars from Call for Help and identity theft. From 2016 to 2020, Burlison was the Director of Human Relations for the charity that helps people dealing with homelessness, poverty and other personal crises like mental health issues and sexual assault.

Each year, Call for Help gets federal funds to help their organization. Burlison admitted to obtaining a cashier check of over $69,788 from the organization to use as a down payment for a home she was purchasing. She initially told the company she needed the check to provide to a title company but couldn’t get one from her personal bank because it was closed. In exchange for the cashier’s check, the St. Louis native handed them a personal check of $70,000, which bounced for insufficient funds.

In 2020, Burlison submitted an income verification for her home mortgage application which required a signature from Call to Help. According to the United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Illinois, she forged the Director of Quality Assurance’s signature.

Burlison was later fired from her role.

Officials later discovered she abused her access to the company’s payroll system by submitting fraudulent reimbursements mileage requests and costs for diversity trainings she did not attend. The total cost of the reimbursements was $115,000.

She is ordered to pay over $185,000 to Call for Help.