Husband and wife stole $100k from Down syndrome organization, group says

A Northwest Indiana husband and wife are facing felony charges for allegedly stealing from children with Down syndrome.

Former Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Indiana President Bill Buckley and his wife, former Executive Director Dawn Buckley have been charged with fraud of a financial institution and theft. They were in charge of the group for seven years and have a child with special needs.

The group said more than $100,000 is missing. Inside a storage unit, the group found arcade games, luxury furniture and more, all apparently bought using the group's money. The keys were turned over to the association after they demanded bank statements from the Buckleys.

"It's more than shocking," said new Down Syndrome Association President Melanie Bennitt. "It's heartbreaking. I was disgusted. I was hurt. I was angry that our families raised for our kids for our members and this is what it was spent on."

Once the association was able to get Indiana State Police involved, it was almost too late.

"How do you sleep at night, how do you take compliments on merchandise that you purchased with money raised by families for children with disabilities when you stole that money and have a child with a disability?" Bennitt asked.

"I felt embarassed that my family and friends had donated for essentially their vacations and putting furniture in their home," said Alyse Biro, who is the mother of a child with special needs and who has relied on the organization.

The group is working on a new location in Schererville that will serve 300 families. They said there are new safeguards in place to protect funds in the future.

"We're relaunching our brand, we're building a new website, we're changing our domain name," said new DSA Executive Director Christine Longo. "We're bruised but we're not broken."