Former SAAA Leader Cockrell Indicted on 4 Charges (UPDATED with SAAA Response)

Posted: April 1, 2013

The Winchester Star

UPDATE: The Shenandoah Area on Aging on Tuesday issued the following press release regarding the Monday indictment of Helen M. Cockrell, its former president and CEO.


FRONT ROYAL — A Warren County grand jury today indicted the former leader of the Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging for allegedly bilking money from the organization.

Helen M. Cockrell, the SAAA’s former president and CEO, was indicted on four counts of embezzlement of amounts greater than $200, according to the Warren County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office.

More details about the charges were not immediately available.

The indictments are the only criminal charges known to date related to financial irregularities uncovered at the agency in August 2011.

That’s when a SAAA employee discovered 81 unmailed checks totaling nearly $265,000 in a safe at the agency’s Front Royal headquarters. The organization did not have enough money in the bank to cover the checks.

Cockrell was placed on administrative leave without pay shortly thereafter. On Sept. 8, 2011, the agency’s board of directors voted to fire her and James Shaffer, the organization’s finance director, for their involvement in the financial problems.

Ann McIntyre, the SAAA’s director of development, was terminated at the same time. In a lawsuit she filed against the agency, she claims she was fired for violating an agency policy not related to the unmailed checks.

The SAAA provides services to senior citizens in Winchester and Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah and Page counties.

It operates active-living centers in each jurisdiction it serves and also offers home meal delivery, in-home assistance, respite care, transportation and Medicaid and Medicare assistance.

— Contact Vic Bradshaw at vbradshaw@winchesterstar.com