Former Food Bank Director Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – The former executive director of the Huntington Area Food Bank has pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement.

Leigh Ann Zappin, 57, of Huntington, entered the plea Monday morning during a hearing in Cabell County Circuit Court.

Zappin was indicted on 17 counts in January 2013 following an investigation by W.Va. State Police.

The indictment charged Zappin was stealing $23,700 from the Food Bank during her tenure as the organization’s leader.

Zappin resigned from the post in September 2012 after being confronted with the allegations.

16 counts of forgery and uttering were dropped as part of the agreement.

Zappin will be sentenced in June. There is no word on what type of sentence she will receive. Prosecutors say that decision will be up to the judge. She could receive a sentence of 12 months or more in in jail

She will also be required to pay restitution of nearly $30,000 to the Board of Risk Management and the Food Bank.

During the hearing, Zappin told the court she had PTSD. She also said at one point she was “hearing voices screaming in her head.”

Zappin starting working at the food bank in 2008, first under a community service program for a prior embezzlement conviction, then as its leader, starting in the fall of 2010 and until her resignation.

The Food Bank has insurance to cover the financial loss.

The nonprofit food bank helps the needy in 17 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Statement from ~ Debra Johnson-Tourigny, Food Bank Board President
"With a new board and a new name we are proud of the direction we are taking and excited about the future. Today’s plea brings an end to the court process, but for us, this chapter has been closed for some time. We appreciate those who have continued to support our mission as we continue to provide food to hungry children, seniors and families who need our help.”


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