Non-Profit Founder Reportedly Stole $150K in Pandemic Funds

( – The founder of a non-profit homeless shelter is in hot water after allegedly diverting pandemic relief funds into a personal account. Officials claim Ruby Corado defrauded the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection programs, taking at least $150,000 in funds meant to go to the shelter. Corado faces charges of bank fraud, failure to file a report of foreign bank account, monetary transactions in criminally derived proceeds, and laundering of monetary instruments.

Rise and Fall of Casa Ruby

Fox News reports that Casa Ruby was a non-profit homeless shelter in Washington, DC, that primarily served homeless youths in the LGBTQ+ community. Corado, a 53-year-old who identifies as a transgender female, started the facility in 2012 in a Columbia Heights community center. They opened seven locations, as well as a drop-in center, with a total of 50 beds. The shelter grew to the point where it made $3.5 million in 2019. A year later, it brought in $4.2 million, the majority being grant money. At its height, the facility served about 6,000 people annually.

The organization also had another office located in El Salvador, Corado’s native country. The founder immigrated to the US at the age of 16, quickly becoming a sex worker in Washington DC. Their experience, which included stretches of homelessness, reportedly inspired them to begin outreach work with a focus on LGBTQ+ youths.

Casa Ruby fell as quickly as it rose according to Forbes. The facility’s problems began in the fall of 2021 when the DC Department of Human Services decided not to renew its low-barrier shelter grant of $839,460. Emergency shelters fall into the “low barrier” category when they have no program requirements — such as background checks, identification, or sobriety — for assistance. Corado responded by launching two GoFundMe campaigns, but they fell short of raising enough funds to make up for the deficit.

Stolen Pandemic Funds

Corado allegedly resorted to stealing from US taxpayers. The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release on March 6, claiming that despite Casa Ruby’s apparent success, the founder reportedly failed to keep up with its financial obligations. They regularly made late rent and utility payments, and they allegedly failed to pay a security company $38,000. Additionally, some of the locations weren’t zoned to be homeless shelters.

Corado jumped on the opportunity for assistance when pandemic funds became available, accepting $1.3 million to keep the facility’s doors open. They then allegedly funneled at least $150,000 of those funds into a private, offshore bank account in El Salvador.

When authorities began to close in on their activities, they sold their home and fled back to their native country. The Federal Bureau of Investigations closed in on Corado on March 5, 2024, when their suspect returned to the US.

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