Thursday, October 11, 2012

Christiansburg man accused of taking FFA funds

Eugene Todd Mills is under investigation after the group's foundation discovered it was missing more than $700,000.

State police are investigating a potential embezzlement of more than $700,000 from the foundation of the Virginia Future Farmers of America.

According to a search warrant affidavit filed in Montgomery County court, the investigation is focusing on a Christiansburg man who served as the foundation's volunteer treasurer.

When confronted by an investigator, Eugene Todd Mills admitted to taking $722,849 from foundation accounts without authorization and placing the money in a personal account for his Christiansburg business, Mills & Son, according to the warrant.

Mills wrote 162 checks against foundation bank accounts between March 14, 2006, and May 29, 2012, according to the warrant. The warrant, which was obtained in order to collect all of Mills' business and personal bank records, also states that Mills has refused to return the money.

Montgomery County Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Pettitt said charges had not been filed as of Wednesday but the investigation is ongoing.

Attempts to reach Mills were unsuccessful Wednesday.

The Virginia FFA is a youth leadership organization that provides programs and experience to students interested in agriculture education. The Virginia FFA Foundation is a separate nonprofit, with a separate governing body, from the Virginia FFA. The FFA has a Blacksburg office on West Campus Drive at Virginia Tech.

The organization's foundation collects money from businesses, organizations and individuals, and those funds support FFA activities. The warrant, obtained by state police, states that Virginia FFA officials noticed a discrepancy in foundation funds while looking at their finances for upcoming activities. Of more than $2 million known to have been deposited in certain foundation accounts, only $1.2 million remained, according to the warrant.

A Virginia FFA official declined to comment publicly on the matter because of the ongoing investigation when reached on Wednesday. Another FFA official did not immediately respond to a message left for comment.

Mills, who acted as the foundation's treasurer until approximately June 1, was the only person authorized to write checks from its Wells Fargo account, the warrant states.

According to business advertisements and other sources, Mills & Son is a "licensed and insured" home improvement and remodeling business. Multiple attempts to reach someone at the Water Street business Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Virginia State Police did not immediately release any further information about the investigation Wednesday.

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