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Former YMCA CEO is charged with grand theft and fraud

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 11:06 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Former CEO of the North Central Florida YMCA, John Bonacci, has been arrested on accusations of embezzling money from the organization.

The Gainesville Police Department reported in a sworn complaint that Bonacci wrote two checks to himself without proper consent.

According to police in 2017, Bonacci committed two felonies, grand theft and fraud.

A police report states members of the YMCA board discovered the unauthorized checks when they conducted an internal audit.

“They try really hard to keep this up and running and to hear that someone like that has stolen money from them with as hard as they’ve worked it’s just really sad,” said Gwendolyn Daniels, member of the YMCA.

One of the checks was $3,215.99, and was used to pay medical expenses.

The other check was $3,553.18, and had no description in the memo.

Daniels said she has been a member of this YMCA for about 20 years and facility does not receive a lot of funding.

“It doesn’t really take a lot to keep an organization like this up afloat and doing a really good job, but you know it is sad when people take advantage of it that way,” she said.

GPD officials said the charges were filed in January of 2019, two years after the initial report was taken.

Bonacci stepped down from his position as the CEO in September of 2017.

The YMCA said in a statement “His alleged actions are inconsistent with who we are and what we value.”

According to the police report, Bonacci’s director of finance, Sherrie Ashby, made one of the checks out to him.

Officials said she initially recorded the transaction, but then deleted it.

Bonacci told TV 20, “On advisement of legal counsel due to pending litigation I am told that my only response at this time can be no comment.”

TV 20 has reached out to GPD officials as well as the state attorney’s office asking why it took almost three years to make the arrest.

We have not gotten a response yet.

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