Sunday, September 23, 2007

Non-profit, or for-profit?

Present yourself as a bride forced into marriage at age 13, an abused single mother of two who was raised by Jews persecuted in Ethiopia, a soldier in the Eritrean struggle for independence, then add against all odds a doctorate and other degrees to your resume and what do you get? A non-profit, multi-million $$$ fund raising machine, and a con that has all angles covered...So it seemed.

The founder of a nonprofit agency for African refugees here -- an immigrant Oprah Winfrey once named a "Phenomenal Woman of the Month" -- has been arrested on 25 charges of conspiracy, embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion and grand theft.

Nikki [aka Nigisti, Nigistiazeb] Tesfai, a 53-year-old native of Ethiopia [from Eritrea], defrauded the African Community Resource Center of more than $1 million to benefit herself, relatives and boyfriend, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Founder of L.A. refugee agency arrested for fraud (L.A. Times) September 23, 2007

...“She is a woman who saw her chance and took it,” says an East African woman who has worked with Tesfai. “Who would not trust an abused, African Jewish woman who wants to help refugees?

Is the Saint of South L.A. for Real? (LA Weekly) May 20, 2004