Officers facing theft charges

HOUSTON According to prosecutors, the officers got more than $160,000 in grant money to set up and run summer camps for children who had to evacuate because of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina. That money had originally been donated to the American Red Cross, then grant money in the form of one-millions dollars was sent to the Houston Area Urban League.

From that one-million dollars, the Houston Area Urban League gave about $160,000 to the police officers in the form of a grant to run these camps.

Prosecutors say Officer Tracy Denise Bell allegedly set up camps last summer that either never took place or whose enrollment numbers were greatly inflated. Prosecutors also tell us that Kirshonda K. Richardson, who was an officer in training on probationary status, helped to fill out the paperwork needed to pull off the theft.

"The allegation is that Tracy Bell, who has run basketball camps in the past submitted false applications, false paperwork indicating that she ran several camps during the summertime," said prosecutor Terese Buess. "She billed for a variety of students and hours that were never provided."

We're told it was a tip to prosecutors that led investigators to the two officers. And this isn't over yet. There could be more indictments, depending on what iofficials find during the course of their investigation.

The Urban League of Houston was founded in 1968 by a group of business professionals. Nationally, the organization was founded in 1910. Its website says it is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African-Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. In the Houston area, there is a 40-member board of directors, 50 plus staff members and more than 500 volunteers.

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