PD: Tolleson Community Coalition President accused of stealing funds

TOLLESON, AZ - The President of the Tolleson Community Coalition is accused of stealing more than $21,000 in funds from the group that supports seniors and students.

The Tolleson Community Coalition is a non-profit group created about two years ago, to help support schools, a senior center, and other community outreach programs. The coalition gets most of its funding from donations and selling beverages at community events.

Tolleson police report that an investigation into the group began in September, after a check written to the Tolleson Elementary School District Teacher of the Year bounced for insufficient funds. 

The police investigation reportedly revealed that since January 13, checks worth a total of about $21,500 were written to "cash" or Coalition President Mario Lopez Hernandez, 30.

Police say they also found another six checks for nearly $12,000, were written for cash to make change for community events. However, in four of those events, deposits were never returned to the account.

Police estimate another $20,000 was made in those events.

Police report that Hernandez was the only person with access to the accounts.

He was arrested on October 10 at his home in Phoenix and has been charged with theft and fraudulent schemes.

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