Military charity treasurer accused of stealing more than $100,000

$100 notes lay in stacks. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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$100 notes lay in stacks. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The treasurer of a charity established in Orange County to provide services for members of the military and their families is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the organization.

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Ron Zook has been charged with using the money to golf, go on personal vacations, and pay for groceries and child support.
The accusations were troubling for Dora Oquendo, who uses the service, Operation Giveback, after her husband, Paul, died after a five-year struggle with cancer.
"He was in the Army for 21 years," she said. "He got cancer in 2008 (and) fought it for five (years)."
The support from the foundation was vital for her family after the tragic loss, Oquendo said.
"This foundation has been there for me and my girls, anytime I need to talk, (or) the girls going through something," she said.
The founder of the charity was alerted to the alleged embezzlement when Zook allegedly tried to use a $5,000 check to make a real estate purchase.
"Stealing is bad, but wow, really, from us," founder Jose Garcia Aponte said. "This money was raised by veterans, widows, orphans."
Aponte said he was completely unaware of what was going on and asked the community to forgive him for not realizing sooner.
"It was bad," he said. "To the community, I would say, please forgive me for a very big misjudgment."
Zook was removed from his role as treasurer, which he had held since 2014, as soon as the allegations came to light, Aponte said.
Zook's attorney declined to comment on the case, saying he was still waiting to receive evidence in the case.
Zook has pleaded not guilty to a charge of grand theft.

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