Police: Woman steals thousands from autism nonprofit

Police: Woman steals thousands from autism nonprofit
Autism Society of America's website

SUWANEE, Ga.,None — Channel 2 Action News obtained the arrest warrants for a woman Suwanee police said stole thousands of dollars from a major non-profit while she was executive director.

Cynthia Pike, 47, a Lawrenceville resident, ran the Autism Society of America Georgia Chapter since 2007.

Pike's attorney called her an innocent and honest mother. But police say she is a thief, now charged with 16 felony counts of theft by conversion.

According new Executive Director Latoisha Stephens, the national office stepped in after spotting issues with the bookkeeping last August.

"The chapter's board of directors conducted an internal audit with a third party accountant firm and immediately took those findings to the police department," Stephens told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh.

Police launched an investigation in late January.

According to the arrest warrants issued Feb.1, Pike was cutting herself checks for unauthorized extra salary payments and bonuses. Police said she also used the nonprofit's funds to pay for her personal cellphone. That alone added up to $17,000 over the four years.

Police said it all adds up to $40,000, but there could be additional $40,000 still unaccounted for.

"There is some discrepancies in some ATM withdrawals and cash disbursements that we're still looking into," said Cpt. Clyde Byers with the Suwanee Police Department.

Pike was arrested and bonded out of jail on Feb. 3.

Kavanaugh went to Pike's Lawrenceville home for comment, but got no response.

We did some additional research and discovered Pike now has her own autism organization, "Georgia Autism Conferences," which is set to have its first major conference at the end of February at the Gwinnett Convention Center.


Kavanaugh checked and the secretary of state said Pike registered the LLC in September 2011.

On the website, it said Pike and her husband, David, have a child diagnosed with autism.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Kavanaugh received the following statement from Pike's attorney:

"Cindy Pike is absolutely innocent of the pending charges related to her employment with the Autism Society of America, Georgia Chapter. I have known Cindy Pike since childhood and I know her to be honest and a caring and loving mother to her children, one who has autism. Cindy, who is 47, has never been arrested in her life until her arrest for these false charges," said Raymond Lail, attorney for Cindy Pike.

The national office told Kavanaugh they hope to reclaim all of their money.