Tim Ligon, 56, of Madison, the former Chief Finance Officer for Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia and current Chairman of the City of Madison’s Audit Committee is being accused of credit card fraud to the tune of $75,000.
A representative from Goodwill, Brian Grady, filed a civil complaint with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office on Aug. 23, accusing Ligon of using his company credit card to make unauthorized personal purchases in the amount of $76,593.07 over the course of six years. According to the police report, the bulk of the disputed purchases were made in Morgan County.
“It is regrettable that this abuse of trust occurred. There is a zero tolerance for theft of any kind at Goodwill,” said James Stiff, president of Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, through a press release.
According to Stiff, in March of 2021, Ligon was fired after Goodwill officials discovered dozens of personal charges on his corporate credit card stemming back to 2015. Ligon was offered the opportunity to repay the money, signing an agreement to repay all funds by Aug. 7, but has yet to do so.
“Mr. Ligon was immediately removed from his position of trust and terminated from employment. A report was filed with Goodwill’s insurance company and a special audit was conducted by Goodwill’s audit firm, Cherry Bekaert. Mr. Ligon was offered the opportunity to repay the amount ($76,593.07) to expedite returning those resources to mission services. Mr. Ligon agreed to reimburse Goodwill no later than Aug. 7, 2021, which he failed to do,” said Stiff.
At the behest of an insurance forensic auditor, Goodwill filed the civil complaint against Ligon two weeks after the agreed-upon deadline passed.
“Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia filed a police report with the Morgan County Sheriff’s office in Madison, Georgia, regarding the misuse of the Goodwill corporate credit card. Goodwill is cooperating fully with its insurance company and law enforcement to ensure the matter is appropriately investigated and addressed,” said Stiff. “Goodwill is committed to being a good steward of resources that allow the organization to lift people out of poverty.”
As of now, Goodwill is not seeking criminal charges against Ligon, but Stiff said it would not be ruled out as an option in the future.
“This is just the first step,” said Stiff. “Right now it’s in the hands of the insurance company and they will do a deeper investigation than even our auditor did. We won’t know what the next steps are until that is completed, but it’s inaccurate to say no criminal charges will be sought moving forward.”
Ligon did not return the Morgan County Citizen’s request for comment as of press time on Tuesday, Aug. 31. Ligon, an active member of the local community who sits on a number of finance boards, is a current partner with strategic CFO services firm SeatonHill Partners.
Ligon’s LinkedIn career bio lists him as the past chair of the Georgia College and State University Business School Advisory Board; Chair of the City of Madison, Georgia Audit Committee; Founding member, Treasurer and Trustee of the Morgan County Foundation for Excellence in Public Education Foundation; Treasurer of YoungLife Morgan County and Finance Chair of Georgia Charter School Association Board.
According to Ligon’s executive profile on seatonhill.com, “Tim is an accomplished Chief Real Estate & Financial Officer, senior finance executive and board advisor with over 30 years of experience driving business growth, enterprise risk management and corporate financial governance for leading public and private retail, hospitality, entrepreneurial family and services companies. Tim is currently a Partner with SeatonHill Partners. He was previously the CFO for Goodwill Industries, where he has been very successful at re-positioning Goodwill’s operations resulting in increasing cash flow by over 300 percent and leading the selection, bond financing and equity investment in a new 95,000 SF campus. Prior to Goodwill Industries, Tim was the CFO and Executive Vice President of Nexcen Franchise Management, a Vice President and Corporate Controller of Avado Brands and the Director of Operations with Ligon Enterprises, a family owned grocery concern. He has expertise in instituting accounting procedures and controls to support boards with fiduciary financial reporting, compliance and disclosure requirements. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing, extensive graduate level accounting course work and is a CPA and CFMA.”
Stiff said Goodwill takes any and all accusations of theft seriously, due to the company’s mission to improve the lives of vulnerable populations.
According to a press release from Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, Inc., revenue from sales of donated items and other community investments provide funding to underwrite services to people with barriers to employment. More than 86 cents of every dollar Goodwill generates goes directly to underwrite education, job training and placement programs within a 35-county service delivery area. In 2019, Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia served 17,566 people, placed 6,732 people into competitive employment and had a $210.5 million positive economic impact.
Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia, Inc. is a member of Goodwill Industries International, which is a federation of 156 autonomous Goodwill organizations, and is governed by a local volunteer Board of Directors.