Felony theft charges filed against director of homeless shelter - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Felony theft charges filed against director of homeless shelter


Joni Hansen is facing three felony theft charges for stealing donation funds meant for the homeless.

Hansen, 59, of Waterloo, is the director of the Hospitality House, which serves area homeless people. Now, she has admitted in the criminal complaint that she withdrew money at the Isle of Capri Casino over a three-year period between 2010 and 2012.

In total, it amounts to over $42,000.

Hansen declined to comment Thursday at the House.

It’s unclear if she spent the money at the casino, but the House’s records confirm in the criminal complaint that she did withdraw the money there.

Waterloo Police have worked with Hansen in the past to provide services to the homeless.

“Myself and several officers are familiar with Joni, so we feel she betrayed our trust as well,” Waterloo Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka said. “Not just the trust of the community and the trust of the homeless, but the trust of several officers -- including myself.”

The filed complaints state that Hansen claims to have co-mingled her personal funds in Hospitality House account. However, it also states that the investigators found the only deposits were donations to the House.

If Hansen is convicted of these three felony theft charges, she could face a combined 25 years in prison.

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