One of the questions that was asked most in chapter meetings when I was in my chapter was “Where does all of our money go?” You paid all of your dues and yet, sometimes it felt like you still had to pay out of pocket for something every other week. In the majority of cases, all of the money we pay for dues is properly accounted for – going toward everything from socials to keeping the chapter house lights on. But for the women of Gamma Phi Beta at the University of Alabama, it turns out that someone actually was stealing from them.
The new Gamma Phi Beta house at University of Alabama is set to be 40,000 square feet, making it Gamma Phi’s largest housing project to date. As such, lots of people – both staff and volunteers – are involved in making the new facility a reality. Jennifer Elizabeth Meehan, a former member of the chapter, was heavily involved in the project as president of the House Corporation Board of the Epsilon Lambda Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, which is an alumna volunteer position. When we originally reported on the building of this massive mansion in 2013, we even quoted Meehan.
Meehan apparently decided that the trouble she was going through for her chapter wasn’t worth simply volunteering, and she thought that she should be paid for her efforts. So without asking anyone, she decided to pay herself a cool $400,000. She was arrested by federal agents on Monday and charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering, for basically what boils down to stealing from her own sisters.
Meehan was in charge of furnishing the new chapter house from September 2013 and March 2015; during this time, she apparently submitted invoices to Greek Resource Services (a financial services firm for sororities and fraternities) for furniture and equipment totaling approximately $400,000. Problem is, none of those items actually ever arrived at the house and instead, Meehan just pocketed the money. Meehan, an attorney, faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if she is convicted of all of the charges against her.
Meehan had better hope that the jury in her trial doesn’t include any sorority women – we don’t take kindly to people that steal from any of our Panhellenic sisters.