Related topics

Charity Exec May Turn Himself In

June 7, 2000

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) _ An American Cancer Society executive sought by the FBI for allegedly stealing $6.9 million raised by volunteers will turn himself in, his attorney said Wednesday.

Attorney Kevin Durkin would not say where Dan Wiant was or when he would come back to the Columbus area.

``All I care right now is that he’s coming back,″ said Durkin, who said he spoke to his client by phone.

Wiant, 35, who oversaw computer and financial operations for the charity’s Ohio chapter, is charged with bank fraud. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 30 years in prison and fined $1 million.

Wiant is accused of having a bank wire $6.9 million of the charity’s money to an account in Austria. According to a complaint the FBI filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, he allegedly took the money, then told his wife on Friday that he was never coming home. The couple live in Raymond, about 40 miles northwest of Columbus.

Wiant’s wife found a letter from her husband Saturday, telling her he had paid their debts with the money, the complaint said. It gave her instructions on how to find him if she ever wanted to.

Cancer Society records show that Wiant sent a letter to a Fifth Third Bank on May 30 asking that the money be sent to an account in Austria to a beneficiary called Dane, Forrest, Hawkins. The money was to be used for research grants.

Brian Lynch, an FBI supervisory special agent in Columbus, would say only that authorities were trying to find Wiant. He would not say how agents learned of the alleged theft.

``At this point we still have a lot of things to do and a lot of investigating left,″ he said.

Wiant has worked for the Cancer Society for six years.

The missing money is among funds raised by about 100,000 Ohio volunteers through charitable events to support cancer research, public education and cancer prevention programs.

Cancer Society spokesman Harvey Schwartz said the agency was evaluating what can be done to improve current safeguards against theft. He said the organization expects to get the money back. Any money it does not recover is insured, he said.

It is the second alleged embezzlement at the Ohio chapter, Schwartz said. A woman, who has been fired, is accused of taking $150,000 in a case expected to go to a county grand jury. Schwartz said the cases are not connected.

Update hourly