Police and a forensic investigator are looking into money missing from the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.—Image credit: Google Maps

Investigation into missing money from hospice

COHA hires a forensic investigator as police start their own investigation.

The Central Okanagan Hospice Association says it has hired a forensic investigator to look into what it calls the suspected misappropriation of money at the non-profit organization based in Kelowna.

In a news release issued Thursday, executive director Natasha Girard confirmed there is an RCMP investigation underway and the work of the forensic investigator will be submitted to police.

“Through our annual audit it was suspected monies may have been misappropriated prior to our fiscal year ending March 31, 2016,” said the news release, issued by Girard on behalf of the COHA board of directors.

“At this time, we cannot comment any further because we do not want to jeopardize the ongoing RCMP investigation.”

But the release urged the public not to lose sight of the association’s aim of supporting the dying and the grieving in the Central Okanagan.

It was reported last week that $181,000 has gone missing from COHA over the last three years.

Media reports say in some cases, personal expenditures were recorded as association expenses and then written off as bad debts.

Matt August, who runs a luxury car company in Kelowna and whose family foundation holds an annual fundraiser for COHA, said he was saddened to hear about the missing money investigation.

But he said it would not deter the August Family Foundation from continuing to support the association. It is planning to once again hold its Okanagan Dream Rally this year to raise money for COHA.

“This world can be a horrible place and we hope justice will prevail,” he said.