Thursday May 23rd, 2024 2:27AM

Former director arrested, accused of stealing from Randy and Friends

By AccessWDUN Staff

The former director of Gainesville nonprofit Randy and Friends has been arrested on allegations of stealing thousands of dollars from the organization.

Gainesville Police Lt. Kevin Holbrook said Rebecca Benefield Vinson, age 53 of Flowery Branch, was arrested Friday following a months-long investigation by the police department into allegations of theft. On Friday, police reportedly executed a search warrant at Vinson's home on Winder Highway and found evidence related to the crime.

"(The alleged theft) was brought to our attention from members of Randy and Friends," Holbrook said. "It's alleged that Vinson stole at least $12,000 from the organization and used that money for personal use."

Vinson was booked into the Hall County Jail Friday on a felony charge of theft by taking and has since been released on bond. Holbrook said the investigation into Vinson, which began in October of 2023, is ongoing and more charges could be filed.

"We believe she was using a number of different methods. Those included financial transaction cards, through which she would order items online from Amazon and other services such as that, as well as through payroll checks," Holbrook said.

Randy and Friends' website describes the nonprofit as "a Christian ministry providing adults with special needs opportunties to become independent and contributing members of society."

Holbrook said Vinson is currently the only suspect in the alleged thefts. He touted the work of Randy and Friends and called the alleged crimes "disheartening."

"It's a local organization that does some really great things for our community," Holbrook said. "We are very happy to help them in this, but the fact that someone would take money from a nonprofit organization for their personal use is just very disheartening."

Alan Wallhausen, chairman of Randy and Friends' board, released a statement Monday afternoon regarding the investigation and arrest of Vinson. The full statement is below:

"County and City Officials and Law Enforcement have been investigating a theft involving Randy and Friends and the board is cooperating with the investigation. Since this is still an open investigation, Randy and Friends and its board members will not have any further comments at this time other than we appreciate the communities support and ask for your continued prayers as we move forward serving our adults with disabilities, along with their families and our community."

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: gainesville, Flowery Branch, hall county, theft, Gainesville Police Department, Randy and Friends
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