Former Superior Non-Profit Executive Director Faces Theft Charges
The former Executive Director of a non-profit agency in Superior has been charged with felony theft charges totaling more than $86,000. Chelsea Anne Branley, 33, made an initial court appearance on April 5 in connection with the thefts that occured while she was in charge of Harbor House Crisis Center.
Preliminary investigations detail that Branley "admitted" to the allegations being made against her during interviews with police detectives. According to details shared in the article in the Superior Telegram [paywall]:
"When the detective interviews Branley....she reportedly admitted putting her boyfriend up at a hotel with the Harbor House credit card and purchasing items on Amazon. She also admitted she took cash from guests and pocketed the money due to the lack of record keeping."
However, at the time of the interview, Branley suggested that the amount of money she took didn't add up to what she was being accused of, saying "it was only $5,000 or so".
Authorities have accused Branley of "spending more than $46,000 of Harbor House funds on unauthorized expenses and pocketing nearly $40,000 in cash rent payments to the non-profit from 2019 to 2022". Branley served as Harbor Houses Executive Director "from July 2019 until November 2022 when she resigned".
It was upon her resignation that the missing funds first came to light. That's also when the Superior Police became involved.
It was during their investigation that police discovered the purchases that were made:
'....including an electric scooter, clothing, computer accessories, books, and jewelry - on an Amazon account using the Harbor House credit card. The items were sent to [Branley's] home, not to Harbor House."
An investigation into fraudulent charges also showed "a weeklong rental at a Superior hotel for Branley's boyfriend".
Branley's next court appearance will happen in May. She told Douglas County Court Commissioner Rebecca Lovejoy that she was obtaining an attorney to face the charges.
That article in the Telegram details that for each of the charges Branley faces are "punishable by up to six years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000."