WishWarriors Former CEO Arrested on Charges of Embezzlement and Grand Theft

brianna king

The former president and CEO of a local cancer charity was arrested on charges of embezzlement and grand theft Wednesday.

Brianna King organized fundraising events for WishWarriors, a charity raising money for families with children battling cancer.

Last week, in an email to NBC 7 Investigates, Angelica Simmons, a board member and the attorney for WishWarriors, said, “at this time it appears most of the money raised by WishWarriors is gone -- used by Brianna for her own personal desires.”

Earlier this month, a local family raised concerns about WishWarriors in an NBC 7 Investigates story and said they felt the nonprofit took advantage of their situation and used their daughter as a marketing tool.

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King was booked into a San Diego County jail Wednesday morning for two felony embezzlement charges and one grand theft charge. She posted $20,000 bail and was released. She is set to be in court Friday.

A spokesperson for the San Diego County District Attorney won’t confirm whether or not these charges are related to her work with WishWarriors.

In an email, Simmons told NBC 7 Investigates WishWarriors is stopping all fundraising activities and has removed King as president of the organization and from its Board of Directors.

"I'm not really surprised," said Rodney Harvey.

His daughter Kasey was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma cancer late last year. He and his family helped promote WishWarriors’ “Kick Cancer” Golf Tournament in hopes that the cancer nonprofit would financially assist them as they tried to save their 13-year-old daughter’s life.

"Once certain things got revealed, I thought that was going to be the outcome of this, that the money was gone," he said.

But to the Poway parents of 12-year-old Maddie Taylor, who was also featured by WishWarriors, the revelation is shocking.

"It's mind boggling that people can use you like that and your community and every one of our friends who went there," said Maddie's mother Georgine Taylor.

NBC 7 Investigates started digging into WishWarriors and found King had a criminal past. While running the charity, there were at least three active warrants for her arrest connected to charges unrelated to her work with the nonprofit.

It’s King, according to Simmons, who had “full control” over WishWarriors’ bank accounts and was the person who dealt with the charity on a “day-to-day basis.”

In a statement, Simmons and the WishWarriors’ Board of Directors said they “had no knowledge of Ms. King’s criminal past,” and the board reported the “missing funds” to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

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