INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Woman arrested for stealing from Blue Star Mothers of LA
BATON ROUGE - The former Treasurer of the Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana Chapter 1 is facing felony theft charges after investigators with Louisiana State Police found she padded her pockets to the tune of $12,814.02 with the non-profit organization's money.
Lisa Austin is scheduled to appear in court this week on felony theft charges. From December 2014 until October 2016, Austin admitted to State Police she withdrew money from the Blue Star Account and deposited funds into her personal account to pay off her credit card. She has not paid restitution.
The Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana is an organization of mothers that have or had children serving in the military. Their website states, "Through our monthly meetings and chapter activities, our members support each other, our children in the military, wounded veterans in need, and veterans in our area as we promote patriotism."
"I've received a lot of phone calls about this case," District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "She has been formally charged with felony theft and the matter is set for this week for a motions hearing."
Moore said the file does indicate that a statement was made, but Austin is still presumed innocent.
"The burden is on us to prove what she did and there was criminal intent, and that money was taken," Moore said.
When reached on the phone, Austin said she didn't want to say anything. That's when the line disconnected.
The Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana Chapter 1 released the following statement:
"We, the Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana Chapter 1, are deeply upset by the actions of one member. We are an outstanding group of volunteers who do tremendous work for Louisiana Veterans and their families. We trusted Lisa Austin in her role as Treasurer and she abused that trust. We have filed charges and are following through to make sure she is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and restitution is made. We have an obligation to our donors who trust us with their donations. We have implemented new procedures to ensure this never happens again."