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Former Iowa City Pride leader will plead next month to stealing over $35,000
Used organization’s debit card for personal bills, travel, hotels and made cash withdrawals
IOWA CITY — A former president and interim treasurer of Iowa City Pride will plead next month to stealing more than $35,000 by using the organization’s debit card for personal bills, travel, restaurants and making cash withdrawals in 2021.
Anthony Sivanthaphanith, 37, of Iowa City, is charged with first-degree theft. He will plead April 17, but there is no information regarding his plea agreement in court documents.
Sivanthaphanith, a former president who became interim treasurer in May 2021 after another member left the position, was issued a debit card linked to the organization’s account, according court documents. It was standard practice that the president and treasurer were issued cards and any purchases needed approval by the board.
He also ordered checks in his own name using the Iowa City Pride account number, which wasn’t authorized by the board.
In the fall of 2021, members of the organization were notified a payment to a staging vendor had bounced, which prompted an internal review of the accounting records. The audit showed many unauthorized transactions from May through November 2021, totaling $35,732.
According to a criminal complaint, Sivanthaphanith used the LGBTQ group’s funds at restaurants, retail, hotels, gas, travel, personal bills and he made cash withdrawals. Many of the purchases were made outside of Iowa City or Iowa — Minneapolis, Minn., Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo.; Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.; and Cedar Rapids.
Sivanthaphanith’s social media and email “document his pattern of behavior and he made admissions to his involvement and spending money without permission,” the complaint stated.
According to a search warrant affidavit, Iowa City Pride members connected many of Sivanthaphanith’s social media posts, indicating he was visiting those locations at the time the purchases were made.
During the investigation, Sivanthaphanith’s cellphone was searched Jan. 24, 2022 and he was also interviewed by investigators. He admitted to making the purchases and he estimated spending around $8,000.
Johnson County Attorney Rachel Zimmermann Smith filed an order of restitution to be paid to Iowa City Pride for $35,732.
Court documents indicate that is part of the plea agreement and 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Lars Anderson directed the clerk of court to accept pre-plea restitution payments.
Sivanthaphanith served as president of Iowa City Pride from fall 2019 to December 2021. Before that, he was on the organization’s board for eight years.
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