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January 29, 2016

Politically Prominent Philadelphian Accused of Charity Fraud

The politically connected former board president of a Philadelphia mental-health nonprofit was charged Wednesday with siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the organization, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Prosecutors allege that while leading the Juniata Community Mental Health Clinic, Renee Tartaglione charged the organization exorbitant rents to lease buildings she owned and cut checks to employees for work that was not done so the money could be returned to her.

During Ms. Tartaglione's tenure, Juniata received city contracts to provide mental-health and substance-abuse services for Medicaid patients. The mother of the 60-year-old suspect chaired Philadelphia's election commission for 36 years, her sister is a state senator, and her husband is a local Democratic ward leader who served a prison term on corruption charges. Ms. Tartaglione was released on her own recognizance after a brief court appearance in which she did not enter a plea.