The operator of a Brampton food bank has been granted bail. Tesslima Stoutley appeared in court today. The forty-five year old mother of four is accused of defrauding the food bank for more than three hundred thousand dollars.
The doors of the Brampton Food Bank were locked today. Police say Stoutley and her children are the only ones who work there. Stoutley has been running food banks for more than ten years. She's lived in a Brampton neighborhood for about five.
Marisa Ward, neighbor: "She lives right next door...I knew she ran the food bank...couldn't believe when I heard on the news."
16-year-old Daniel is one of Stoutley's four teenage children. He wants people to know what kind of a person his mom is. "A kind decent person. She helps a lot of people," he says.
But Peel police say Stoutley's been stealing from the poor for three years. Detective Sargeant Mike Stephenson, Peel Regional Police: "We've been able to track corporate donations... brought over and sold for profit."
Stephenson says the bulk of the money came straight from people who came looking for help. "About 230,000 misappropriated from people who had to hand over a donation before they could take food from the food bank," he says.
Legitimate food banks don't ask for money in return for food. Police say the Brampton food bank didn't have the same checks and balances as others. It wasn't a registered charity. The charges against Stoutley couldn't come at a worse time for other area food banks.