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Ex-Controller Charged With Embezzlement After Charity Burned Down

By: Chloe Cheyenne Mosier

Photography: LLN

Alapati Mulivanu, the ex-controller of the nonprofit charity Working Wardrobes was charged with embezzling over $48,000 on Feb. 7, five days after the company’s headquarters burned down.

Working Wardrobes is a nonprofit that has helped the unemployed with finding new jobs with training and access to clothes for interviews.

Mulivanu was charged with one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement, and a restitution claim of $48,168 was included on the criminal complaint. He was held without bail.

Mulivanu had charged the company’s credit card for personal items since March 2018. He was immediately fired once the embezzlement was uncovered. 

Founder and CEO of Working Wardrobes Jerri Rosen said that the decision to fire Mulivanu has “absolutely nothing” to do with the fire that broke out on Feb. 2.

The fire that burned down the building started early in the morning and resulted in 16 fire trucks coming to the scene of the fire which destroyed everything at the nonprofit’s headquarters. 

“They’ve got to figure out the cause before they can find out if it was intentional or not,” Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Capt. Tony Bommarito said.

Over a hundred firefighters had been called to Kettering Street to put out the fire. When firefighters first arrived, they tried to run hoses through the building, but had to retreat due to the magnitude of the fire inside. The fire was not put out until noon, and even then it was too dangerous for anyone to enter the building.

Working Wardrobes is requesting donations of money or clothing. To contact the organization, email kathis@workingwardrobes.org or call (714) 210-2460.