Pink Hearts Fund 'wiped out' by alleged embezzler

Pink Hearts Fund 'wiped out' by alleged embezzler

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - JoAn Niceley turned to her friends on Facebook Thursday morning to find comfort amid the agony of an embezzlement case. "I know that God has a plan," she wrote. "He is already working overtime to help get Pink Hearts Funds and me through this."

A day earlier, a Long Beach woman accused of embezzling $235,000 from the Pink Hearts Fund was arrested by police. The woman in custody is Melinda Rosetti-Spence. Niceley noted the suspect was the treasurer of the nonprofit organization.

The money reportedly disappeared over the last year and a half.

"She was a friend and a wonderful volunteer," Niceley wrote Thursday night. "I had no idea of the embezzlement that was taking place. We are all in shock."

Rosetti-Spence is being held at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $200,000 bond.

Niceley, still in shock, recounted the experience of getting a call from the bank about insufficient funds to cover a check. She said she visited the bank this week and was devastated when 135 checks were laid out before her; checks where someone had forged her name.

"I had this very heavy feeling in my chest and thought I would surely have a heart attack or a stroke," Nicely said.

"This is a very difficult time for me and all the volunteers at Pink Hearts Fund," Niceley tells her Facebook friends. "Our account is wiped out. We do have a good inventory and can work with that for awhile."

Friends responded with words of encouragement. "You are right, God IS in control," one woman wrote on Niceley's Facebook page. "He will take care of this situation and turn things around. He will take care of Pink Hearts Fund."

Nicely founded the well-known organization 10 years ago. It provides wigs for women battling breast cancer.

She is a cancer survivor who has faced ongoing health issues in recent months. She said that's part of the reason her friend and treasurer was given more responsibility within the organization.

Though the road to recovery may be tough for Pink Heart Funds and its founder, Niceley is already encouraged by the support she's receiving from friends and the community.

During our visit, a cancer survivor stopped by the Hope Chest store in Long Beach to give Niceley a hug and hand her a cash donation.

"We're going to get through this," said a determined Nicely, with that ever present smile still painting her face.

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.