POST FALLS, Idaho — It was a situation Greg McLean and his fellow board members at the Post Falls Senior Center thought they'd never find themselves in.
Being victims of a crime.
For McLean especially, the situation was a unique one. When not volunteering with the Senior Center, McLean serves as a detective with the Post Falls Police Department.
"It really is an eye opener to be the victim, so to speak," he said.
McLean says he, his colleagues, and the hundreds of seniors served by the Senior Center are still feeling the effects of an embezzlement case brought on by the center's former executive director. Although the case has since been closed, McLean says crucial donations to the non-profit have slowed, along with interest in renting the center's event space.
Alison McArthur, the Senior Center's former director, was indicted on felony fraud charges last fall following a series of personal expenses paid for using Senior Center funds. According to court documents, McArthur spent roughly $2,000 of Senior Center money in 2016 on items including repairs on her personal car and a trip to Disneyland.
McArthur was eventually fired in 2017. McLean said he and other board members became suspicious at the time after the Senior Center received several unpaid bills. "We kind of went into a panic mode, because we didn't have the funds in there that we originally thought we did," he said.
Court records show that McArthur recently accepted a plea deal with prosecutors, dropping her charge to petit theft, a misdemeanor. According to court filings, McArthur was ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution and will serve some "discretionary" time in jail.
But despite McArthur's case coming to a close, McLean says the Senior Center is still feeling the effects of the crime.
"I think there was a scare throughout the community as well. And everything just basically started to shut down," said McLean, who serves as the board's president.
When McArthur's arrest made headlines, he said donations to the Senior Center dried up. "[The community] didn't know what was going on. 'Am I going to give money to something that's just going to close anyway?'" McLean said of public feeling following the case.
Additionally, requests from groups and wedding parties to rent the center's event space came to a halt.
The Senior Center serves as a local event space and meal venue for area seniors. The group also participates in local Meals on Wheels programs, serving meals to around 2,800 seniors each month, according to McLean. The non-profit is funded primarily through community support and government reimbursements.
"It was a lot of sleepless nights, I think, by the entire board," McLean said of the center's finances following the discovery of McArthur's actions. "The ultimate goal is that we had to feed the seniors. We can't have someone sitting at home, expecting a meal, and us just not show up. It was a tough struggle."
Moreover, McLean said he and other board members weren't able to discuss the case with senior center members while it was going on. "The rumors just started flying," he said.
Due to McLean's employment with Post Falls Police, and to avoid any conflicts of interest, McArthur's case was investigated by the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.
Moving forward, McLean emphasized that it's back to business as usual at the Senior Center and that the non-profit continues to be in need of community assistance. "I'm hoping that we see people start to rent the hall again. Seeing the donations coming back in," said.
The center's board is currently exploring different fundraisers and other events as a way to recoup some of the donations lost following McArthur's scheme.
"We can only keep the door open as long as the community supports it," he said.