The trial began Friday for a woman accused of stealing more than $200,000 worth of donated toys and items for underprivileged children.
Virginia Kelly, 75, is charged with grand theft and embezzlement for allegedly hoarding toys meant for Toys for Tots, the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, and several other non-profit organizations.
Prosecutors allege Kelly sold the donated toys at garage sales and kept the cash.
“Stealing from a charity and depriving needy children in San Diego of the chance to get a new toy is despicable,” said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. “This criminal investigation has identified someone who brazenly took advantage of the community’s goodwill and trust for many years.”
Police say that Kelly stockpiled thousands of toys inside two bedrooms at her home, inside her daughter's garage, and inside a storage unit.
"Ms. Kelly unlocked the door with the keypad and lock," said Deputy District Attorney Chris Ryan. "They found what could only be described as a mountain of stuffed animals."
Investigators found 13,000 new toys inside the storage unit.
Kelly's lawyer paints a different picture of the mother of three.
"In 2006, she received the Jefferson Award which is a prestigious national award recognition system honoring community and volunteerism in America," said defense attorney Tom Matthews.
Supporters say Kelly is a tireless advocate for foster children and families.
If convicted, Kelly faces four years in prison.