Woman admits stealing $266k from coast cancer charity

Woman admits stealing $266k from coast cancer charity
Melinda Rosetti-Spence admitted to embezzling more than $266,000 from the Pink Heart Funds in 2016. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A coast non-profit seeking justice is one step closer to that dream.

The Pink Heart Funds helps women through their fights with cancer. In 2016, the non-profit's founder, JoAn Nicely, found that the organization's bank account had been virtually wiped clean.

The prime suspect was the group's volunteer treasurer Melinda Rosetti-Spence who pleaded guilty in court Monday to embezzling more than $266,000 from the organization.

"I was just so glad for this moment to finally come and for her to admit her guilt," said Nicely, "The feeling was just, after 20 months, this happened 20 months ago, and I needed this for me and my volunteers."

Nicely said this battle isn't over yet. The state was seeking a maximum 20 year sentence. Per the request of Rosetti-Spence's attorney, Judge Lisa Dodson deferred the sentencing to July.

Nicely said that kept her from getting the closure she was looking for. "Every time I have to face her in court, it's like it's happening all over again," she said.

According to Nicely, she'll rely on God to get her through, especially when she thinks of the thousands of women who have already been helped by the organization. "We're going to continue to be strong and get through this," Nicely explained.

When Rosetti-Spence pleaded guilty, she claimed that she wrote checks to herself to feed her gambling addiction. The sentencing has been scheduled for July 2.

Copyright 2018 WLOX. All rights reserved.