In plea papers and in separate hearings Wednesday and April 20, the Arnetts acknowledged misappropriating the money through cash transfers and credit card transactions to pay for personal items and expenses with vendors including Amazon, Avis Car Rental, Century 21, Coach, GEICO, Loudoun County and T-Mobile.
“Ms. Arnett publicly accepted full responsibility for her actions that resulted in the misuse of funds,” her attorney Kevin J. McCants said in a statement. “She deeply regrets every bad decision made and remains committed to repaying the organization entirely.”
Diallo Arnett’s attorneys Holly Bauer and Joshua G. Berman issued a similar statement, saying he “accepted responsibility for his conduct and is eager to move forward. He is deeply regretful for his actions and any harm caused.”
Founded at Howard University in 1913, Delta Sigma Theta is one of the country’s most prominent Black sororities whose members have included several leaders of the U.S. civil rights, political and entertainment worlds.
“While Delta Sigma Theta and its members were committed to a mission of public service, the defendants were committed to criminal conduct, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars to use for their own personal pleasure” Acting U.S. attorney Channing D. Phillips of Washington said in a statement. “The defendants — and others who steal from nonprofit organizations to enrich themselves — will be caught, punished, and prosecuted for the damage they cause.”
In a statement, the sorority said it discovered financial improprieties after ending Arnett’s employment for unrelated reasons and initiated a forensic audit, operational review and other measures to address appropriate business, legal and regulatory concerns.
Arnett was expelled from the sorority, it added.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy for these practices and remain committed to safeguarding the finances of our organization. We are grateful for the diligence of law enforcement in their investigation of this matter,” the statement concluded.