The former executive director of Fourth & Hope in Woodland has been charged with felony grand theft, accused of misappropriating tens of thousands of dollars from the agency that provides shelter and other services to the county’s homeless.
Leona Jo Jull, 46, who resigned from her longtime position earlier this year, was booked Tuesday night into the Colusa County Jail near her Arbuckle home and later freed on $20,000 bail. She is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 13 in Yolo Superior Court.
A staff member who answered the phone at Fourth & Hope’s Fourth Street headquarters on Wednesday said agency officials, including Interim Executive Director Doug Zeck Jr., would not be commenting on Jull’s arrest. Attempts by The Enterprise to reach Jull were unsuccessful.
Woodland police Lt. Anthony Cucchi said Jull’s arrest culminated an investigation that began on April 10, when administrators at Fourth & Hope — formerly known as the Yolo Wayfarer Center — reported that money had been lost from the organization, and that an employee was believed to be involved.
The resulting probe revealed that Jull “had stolen approximately $30,000 using a department Visa credit card that had been entrusted to her as part of her employment duties,” Cucchi said in a news release. “Jull had stolen the money over the past three years and spent the money on personal property.”
Cucchi did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged purchases. The case was forwarded to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, which in turn requested a warrant for Jull’s arrest that was issued last Friday.
A criminal complaint filed Aug. 8 alleges that Jull “did willfully, unlawfully and feloniously steal, take, obtain, carry, lead and drive away, from another, personal property, real property, labor and money, with a value exceeding $950.”
Jull had served as executive director of Fourth & Hope from 2001 until her resignation in March after a period of leave. In addition to offering emergency shelter for the homeless and family transitional housing, Fourth & Hope provides meals, substance abuse rehabilitation and job-training services.
“We are a community safety net — and are in the business of helping people rescue themselves,” the organization’s website declares.
It becomes the second service-oriented agency in Yolo County to be tinged by an embezzlement scandal in recent years.
In 2011, the former executive director of Yolo County Court Appointed Special Advocates was sentenced to three years and eight months in state prison after pleading no contest to charges that she embezzled more than $46,000 from the agency that serves abused and at-risk children.
At the time, Claudean Sue Medlock was already on felony probation for embezzling $13,000 from her former employer, the California Musical Theatre Company in Sacramento.
— Reach Lauren Keene at email@example.com or 530-747-8408. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene