A Westwego woman charged with setting up a fraudulent “money challenge” program at her St. Rose employer was recently found not guilty at trial.
Kenyatta Long, 37, of 42 Honeysuckle Drive, was charged with theft of $5,000 to $25,000 in December of 2016 after allegedly taking much of the money allocated to a Christmas “money challenge” at Randa Accessories in St. Rose, reported to be a total of about $18,227.
The voluntary program ran from January of 2016 to November of the same year. Employees participating would enter a minimum of $74 at the beginning of the exercise, with that amount decreased by a dollar every week until the final payout. Participants could pay more than the minimum if they wanted. The incentive was to produce a large lump sum payout to participants during the holiday season as a Christmas shopping fund.
Long was reportedly tasked with collecting funds and tracking each participant’s dollar amount. But when the payments were issued at the end of the exercise, participants reportedly realized they’d been shorted money. Some 19 of 23 employees interviewed revealed a total $18,227 was missing, according to court documents.
The arrest report states employees said Long committed to paying everyone back, but made no arrangements to do so. Others said she stated while she still had possession of the money, “the money was hers and there was nothing anyone could do.”
During a group meeting of participants that was apparently recorded by a witness, Long was overheard telling everyone she would eventually pay them back, but had fallen on hard times and did not have the money.