Charges: Woman stole thousands from St. Paul nonprofit that helps youth facing homelessness

A woman who worked for St. Paul nonprofit Face to Face in St. Paul is charged with multiple counts of felony theft after allegedly giving thousands of dollars meant to pay rent for youth experiencing homelessness to friends and family.

Charlita Williamson-Prokop, 50, is charged with nine counts of theft by swindle for directing fraudulent issuance of rental assistance payments.

A criminal complaint states Face to Face began an internal investigation and determined that Williamson-Prokop, the manager of its youth homeless programs, was involved in fraudulent activities. The nonprofit discovered that she hired family members and friends as case managers to assist in the schemes.

On Wednesday, Face to Face officials released a statement in response to the charges filed against Williamson-Prokop, saying in part, “Face to Face has been able to minimize the impact of this alleged criminal act on the young people we serve. The organization’s Leadership Team and Board of Directors immediately evaluated and implemented additional process improvements.”

St. Paul police spoke to several people who said Williamson-Prokop purported as landlords in her filings during their investigation.

Investigators found that one of Williamson-Prokop’s sisters worked at Face to Face, but the sister’s employment was terminated when the nonprofit discovered the conflict of interest. However, the former employee’s husband, Williamson-Prokop’s brother-in-law, was listed as a landlord who was housing Face to Face clients. Investigators found that the man did not own the properties that filings were being sent to, and the youth recipients the funds were meant to help lived at different addresses. Despite this, the man collected thousands in rental assistance funds from the nonprofit.

The complaint also details thousands of dollars worth of payments made through Cash App to Williamson-Prokop from the spouse of a former Face to Face employee that Williamson-Prokop hired. This happened after Williamson-Prokop approved Face to Face housing funds for an address that the couple lived at. Again, investigators found that the youth client was not living at the address listed in the payment documents. In addition, that former employee received thousands of dollars from Minnesota Housing rental assistance that same year, saying she would be evicted if she didn’t get the assistance, according to the complaint. The former employee also said in filings she has no relation to the person receiving funds from Face to Face.

Another man, the brother-in-law of Williamson-Prokop, interviewed by police refused to answer questions related to application and background fees that were reimbursed by Face to Face. Court documents say that same man bought a motorcycle from Tousley Motorsports the same day that a fraudulent check was deposited for a youth’s rent who was found to be living out of state. The man confirmed that Williamson-Prokop cosigned on the motorcycle purchase.

Investigators also found evidence that Williamson-Prokop was using Face to Face funds to pay her own rent at an upscale apartment complex in St. Paul. The complaint states that she listed a different address when she started working at Face to Face. She reportedly arranged for rental assistance on behalf of a client who was found to be Williamson-Prokop’s niece and the granddaughter of one of the fake landlords receiving funds from Face to Face. The apartment was rented under the name of Williamson-Prokop’s niece, but rental documents listed an email address tied to Williamson-Prokop. Records show Williamson-Prokop used Face to Face funds to rent the apartment unit from February to October of 2021.

Court documents show Williamson-Prokop’s bail is set at $80,000 and she has not been taken into custody.