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Macon – A former employee of a non-profit Macon youth program pleaded guilty to 70 counts of theft by taking on Thursday.

Phyllis Denise Wallace, 45, of Lizella was sentenced to serve 15 years, three of them in prison. She also must pay $56,860 restitution to the Motivating Youth Foundation.

If the case had gone to trial, prosecutor Pam White-Colbert would have presented evidence showing Wallace was a trusted administrative assistant who had access to the foundation’s financial accounts in 2013 and 2014.

The program’s founder, former NFL player Roger Jackson, discovered checks missing from the program’s checkbook. An investigation revealed unauthorized charges billed to the foundation’s debit card.

Jackson testified Motivating Youth mentors and tutors low income children in an afterschool and summer care setting. It also has provided financial assistance, paying high schoolers’ SAT fees and buying college students’ textbooks.

Since the embezzlement, the program’s enrollment has been significantly reduced and Motivating Youth has been unable to provide the same number of scholarships it once offered to low income children to attend, Jackson said.

Speaking after the hearing, Macon Judicial Circuit District Attorney David Cooke said, “Ms. Wallace was a trusted employee who broke that trust when she stole from children. Now she’ll have three years to think about her crimes and another 12 years to pay restitution.”

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Contact: Amy Leigh Womack

[email protected]

478-621-6179 (office)

478-319-2529 (cell)