Kirsten Hamling is sorry she stole more than $200,000 from a charity she started to raise money for Children's Hospital burn-unit victims. Her nonprofit group, Fired Up For Kids, collected money with an annual firefighters' calendar -- which got only positive attention until accusations surfaced that Hamling was pocketing donations inspired by hunky men (and a few women) posing for a good cause. Today, she was sentenced to ten years of probation and ninety days in jail.
We reported back in November that Hamling, 48, had resigned amid allegations that she had diverted or mismanaged funds earmarked for Children's Hospital.
At that point, there were accusations that some of the cash raised by her calendar sales were winding up in her personal account, and there were also questions about whether Fired Up For Kids actually had nonprofit status -- which could impact whether donations were tax-deductible.
The Denver DA's office began investigating Hamling after receiving a complaint at the end of September 2011 alleging possible theft.
This past summer, Hamling was charged with theft and fraud over a whopping total of $243,399.22, based on the DA's lengthy investigation.
The hospital had collected a total of $170,389.47 from calendar sales between 2004 and 2010, but that sum was noticeably less than the total claimed by the Fired Up For Kids website, which had mentioned raising $400,000 for the facility. These details are outlined in the warrant, on view below.
Hamling pleaded guilty in September to one count of theft that encompassed all victims and their losses. In exchange for this plea, the other charges against her were dismissed. She appeared in Denver District Court today, the DA's office says, and was sentenced to ten years of Economic Crime Unit probation, ninety days in the Denver County Jail with work release, and restitution of $250,412.22.
Hamling had apparently used the money she stole for her own gain, including airline tickets, hair salon charges, car repairs and her children's private school tuition.
"She spoke to the court during the sentencing hearing today and apologized for what she had done," the DA's office says in a release announcing her sentencing.
"I've always wanted to do the right thing," Hamling told the judge, according to 9News. "I got in over my head. I've done a lot of things wrong. I've done a lot of things right. I cut some corners."
Hamling paid $105,000 in restitution today.
Continue for the original documents in the case and Hamling's mug shot.
The arrest warrant affidavit. Kirsten Hamling Arrest Warrant Affidavit
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.