Local News

Former DuBois Center Leader Charged With Embezzlement

Posted July 19, 2006

— The former executive director of a Wake Forest community center was arrested on Tuesday and charged with embezzlement, authorities said.

Wake Forest police charged Bettie Edwards Murchison, 56, for allegedly embezzling more than $169,000 from the DuBois Center while she served in the position until February 2006.

The Dubois Center was at the center of controversy last year when the Wake County Public School System decided to place modular classrooms on the center's site. Many parents worried about the crime in the area.

But the school district voted to pay the National Alumni Association of DuBois High School $36,000 a year to lease the land.

The police department began a four-month investigation in April after a complaint by the alumni association's president, Lawrence Perry, alleging fraud against Murchison.

Authorities said Murchison allegedly withdrew the money from the association's bank account and deposited it into a new business account that she created using the DuBois name: W.E.B. DuBois Community Development Corp.

Murchison had been employed at the center from 1993 until April when she resigned, citing differences between the DuBois board of directors over the direction of the center's programs.

She was also charged with felony conversion of property for allegedly trading in the center's van for a new one in her new company's name.

Murchison was released from jail Tuesday after posting a $200,000 cash bond. She was expected to make her first court appearance on Wednesday.

The DuBois Center, located in northeast Wake Forest, provides learning programs for children as well as parenting classes and job training for adults.

"(Murchison) taught us about life," said Wake Forest resident Jackee Bledsoe. "She taught us the five character traits that the YMCA teaches, which are respect, honesty, caring, responsibility and faith in God."

"I'm surprised," Bledsoe added about the allegations against Murchison. "Because, usually Ms. Bettie doesn't do thing like that."

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