Founder of Erie Boots on Ground Indicted for Embezzlement

Local News

Venus Azevedo-Laboda — the founder of Boots on Ground — is accused of embezzling more than seven thousand dollars from the organization over the past five years. 

The Erie-based non-profit was established in 2012 to address suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder among military veterans. 

Azevedo-Laboda launched the effort after her brother – Navy Vet.  Philip Azevedo –  killed himself.  

The alleged fraud happened between Jan. 2014 and November of this year. Investigators say she put donations into a personal bank account, and used the funds to pay her own bills.

Azevedo-Laboda is summoned to appear for arraignment in federal court Jan. 29. 

She could face up to 20 years in prison for each count she’s been indicted on — if convicted.

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