Breaking: United Way acting chair arrested for theft

Santa Rosa United Way’s acting chairman was arrested Monday night for allegedly stealing from the nonprofit.

David Willhoit

David “Davey” Willhoit, 41, of Milton was taken into custody by the Milton Police Department after he allegedly made two unauthorized withdrawals from one of United Way’s bank accounts.

According to United Way acting administrator Kyle Holley, Willhoit withdrew $3,200 in two separate transactions March 8 and 11. Willhoit was an approved check signer appointed by the board.

United Bank employees flagged the transactions as unusual activity and contacted United Way last week to verify. Holley said he was glad they did.

“We implemented every internal control recommended to us by our forensic auditors. Thank God for the banking relationships that we have…We would not have been able to see this on our bank statement for another 20 days,” he said. “That was service above and beyond.”

An internal review showed the transactions had not been authorized, and Holley said the authorities were contacted.

Willhoit is charged with third degree felony grand theft. He was booked into Santa Rosa County Jail on $5,000 bond.

United Way is in the process of returning donations after the nonprofit was removed from parent United Way Worldwide. Santa Rosa United Way has been under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations since last October, and the nonprofit launched its own forensic audit at the same time. The investigation is ongoing.

Holley said Willhoit’s arrest was not connected to the investigation in an official statement issued Tuesday.

“These actions are completely separate from the subject of the ongoing FBI investigation,” he said. “The Board of Directors of the United Way of Santa Rosa County coordinated with the entire investigative team to ensure there would be no impact from these events on the FBI investigation or the forensic audit the UW board ordered in October 2018.”

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