Star News Personality Indicted, Facing Grand Larceny Charges
Clarification from Danville Police:
Danville, VA - The Danville Police Department is clarifying statements made by a department spokesman Thursday regarding the filing of grand larceny charges against Star News employee Jessica Griffith.
The statement says the charges are not in any way related to a telethon aired on WGSR-TV earlier this year.
That telethon was raising money for Danville's Neighbors Helping Neighbors program. Griffith was involved in that telethon.
She is charged with two counts of grand larceny. Those charges, according to the statement issued by the police department, stem from incidents where victims gave money to Griffith in the belief they were donating to a program named the Unity Relief Fund.
Reporter: Sarah Bloom l Videographer: RJ Burnette
Danville, VA - A local news personality has been indicted on two counts of grand larceny. Police say it involves embezzlement of funds from a fundraiser to help those struggling with power bills.
Jessica Griffith is an on-air personality at Star News, a local cable station that often has call-in shows. Griffith now faces two felony counts. If convicted, she could face jail time.
It was money meant to help those who needed a little boost when times got tough, but Danville Police say that money never got where it needed to go.
"There was an on-air telethon fundraiser for the Danville Utilities Relief Fund. Money was pledged over the air. The money was picked up but it was never deposited into the city's neighbors helping neighbors program," said Lt. Scott Eanes, with the Danville Police Department.
Instead, they say Griffith- a Star News TV personality- embezzled it.
"It was found that it was deposited somewhere else and not into the city fund," said Eanes.
Star News Corporation maintains that no criminal activity took place within their studio, but they say they support Griffith.
"She's been a wonderful member of our staff for over four years and we have all the love and best wishes for her in our heart. Right now, we're re-evaluating our role and we're giving her plenty of time to work through this personal crisis and we wish her all the best," said Kip Wallace, Press Relations for Star News Corp.
Wallace says if Griffith wants to come back to work, she can. Still, those who oversee the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program say this is frustrating.
"Sometimes every organization that appear to be legitimate, unfortunately is not legitimate," said John Moody, Director of Danville Public Services. "Often times we don't have enough funds to take care of all of those requesting assistance."
Officials with Neighbors Helping Neighbors say if you want to be certain that your funding goes to their organization, send the money through your utility bill or through United Way. You can also bring it to the social services offices.