KLTV 7 Investigates: Charity director accused of misplacing fund - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

KLTV 7 Investigates: Charity director accused of misplacing funds

Tonia Allen Tonia Allen
EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - An East Texan known for her charity work across two states is accused of misplacing disaster relief funds. Tonia Allen was fired by the group, America's Disaster Relief, but there are no charges or criminal investigations into the alleged missing money.

"I was appalled...upset. I'm hurt because I don't believe them," says Christy Carrizoza, the current director of God's Hand Ups.

God's Hand Ups is an East Texas charity that helps people in need. The charity was founded more than a year ago, by Allen, who left to help Oklahoma residents when tornadoes struck last spring.

Recently, Allen was accused of misplacing funds meant to help tornado victims. One victim, Shirley Cox, says she and her husband started rebuilding their home with help from Allen and America's Disaster Relief.

"I do think she had good intentions when all this started," Cox told Oklahoma TV station KWTV.

Despite those good intentions, America's Disaster Relief says $70,000 is unaccounted for from their Oklahoma Chapter.

America's Disaster Relief also claims that $14,000 was moved from the Oklahoma account to the Texas account. The organization says moving money between state accounts was something Allen knew was strictly against the rules.

Allen did not want to speak specifically about the allegations, but in an email she said, "I can tell you that I worked really hard, and this is a nightmare that my family and I plan to get through and prove to be lies."

In a past interview with KWTV, Allen stood up for the charity and its work.

"I think the proof is more in your actions. Call the attorney general's office. Ask, 'Have we been investigated,'" Allen said.

Both the Texas and Oklahoma AG's Offices say they've had no complaints about Allen or the charities she has been associated with. August 2013 was the only time the Oklahoma AG reported having any contact with Allen. They say they only notified her to tell her register as a charity, which she then did.

"She left everything here to go to Oklahoma... to give unselfishly of herself, and then to be slammed like this is just... just uncalled for," says Carrizoza.

In May of last year when Allen was still the director of God's Hand Ups, she coordinated charity efforts for 13 Mount Pleasant families displaced by an apartment fire. The charities provided the fire victims with clothing, diapers and other donations. It's that selfless giving that reminds Carrizoza of the Allen she knows.

"I'm the type of person [who believes] you're innocent until you're proven guilty, but to know she's being accused in this manner... I'm hurt. I'm really hurt because she's given so much of herself... so much to the community," says Carrizoza.

According to America's Disaster Relief, Tonia Allen has until midnight Friday to submit supporting receipts and paperwork explaining where the missing $70,000 dollars went. As of Monday, there was no criminal investigation into Allen or any proof backing up the accusations against her.

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