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Former Huntington Food Bank Director Pleads Guilty To Embezzlement

Reported: May. 5, 2014 11:15 AM EDT
Updated: May. 5, 2014 5:36 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Darrah Wilcox) -- The former director for the the former Huntington Area Food Bank pleaded guilty to embezzlement Monday.

Leigh Anne Zappin pleaded guilty Monday in Cabell County Circuit Court to one count of embezzlement but not without much hesitation. When Judge Alfred Ferguson asked Zappin if she was guilty, she paused for several seconds before he prompted a response. She finally replied, "Yes."

Zappin resigned from the food bank in September 2012, and shortly after was indicted and arrested on 17 counts including embezzlement, forgery and uttering.

Zappin had a difficult time accepting responsibility in court. The judge threatened to halt proceedings after Zappin asked for multiple breaks, but each side finally agreed on the deal.

Putnam County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Lawson took over the case after former Cabell County prosecutor Chris Chiles stepped aside.

"I think all the parties involved, the people at the food bank, Ms. Zappin, are probably all glad to be at the point we're at," Lawson said.

Now the food bank has a new board, a new director and a new name. The food bank re-branded itself as the "Facing Hunger Foodbank" in March and released this statement after Monday's hearing:

"With a new board and a new name, we are proud of the direction we are taking and excited about the future," Debra Johnson-Tourigny, board president said in a prepared statement. "Today's plea brings an end to the court process, but for us, this chapter has been closed for some time. We appreciate those who have continued to support our mission as we continue to provide food to hungry children, seniors and families who need our help."

Zappin has agreed to pay more than $29,000 in restitution. Neither she or her attorney would comment after the hearing. She will be sentenced in June. The remaining 16 counts will be dropped as part of the plea deal.




HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Tiersa Davis) -- The former director for the Huntington Food Bank pleaded guilty to embezzlement.

Leigh Anne Zappin pleaded guilty Monday in Cabell County Circuit Court to one count of embezzlement. Zappin was the director of the food bank, now known as the Facing Hunger Food Bank, who resigned in September 2012. An indictment charged Zappin with embezzling more than $24,000 from the food bank.

Zappin will be sentenced June 19. Zappin has agreed to pay more than $29,000 in restitution to the food bank.



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