Following the tragic and untimely death of Layla Aiken in March 2019, members of the Cape Coral community rallied in response to support Layla Aiken’s family and to establish improved safety measures at school bus stops. Through this community response, Lights for Layla Incorporated was formed and advertised as a non-profit charity with the intent of raising funds to improve bus stop safety. Randi Romanoff controlled Lights for Layla Inc. and was responsible for the charity and distribution of the money received through fundraising events.
From March to June 2019, Randi Romanoff used Lights for Layla, Inc. to solicit and obtain charitable donations from community members with the intended purpose of improving bus stop safety. Through online fundraising and in-person events, Lights for Layla, Inc. was able to generate donations of approximately $72,804. A portion of the raised funds went toward the intended purpose of supporting the Aiken family, however, the remaining donations were misappropriated and were not used toward bus stop safety improvements.
The investigation by the Cape Coral Police Department’s Financial Crimes Unit found that Randi Romanoff misappropriated the funds for her own personal use. None of the Lights for Layla, Inc. donations were used as they were intended and instead were used for personal spending, which included attorney’s fees, large cash withdrawals, Microsoft/Xbox, Diamondhead Beach Resort, utility bills, toll violations, retail shopping, restaurants, and other personal spending.
The case was forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office and resulted in a warrant being issued for Randi Romanoff’s arrest for the below listed charges. Randi Romanoff was served with the warrant while in custody at the Lee County Jail on unrelated charges.
- Grand Theft – $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000 [F.S.S. 812.014(3)(b)1]
- Scheme to Defraud – $20,000 or more, but less than $50,000 [F.S.S. 817.034(3)a(2)]
- Violation of the Solicitation of Contributions Act [F.S.S. 496.415(1)]
- Violation of the Solicitation of Contributions Act [F.S.S. 496.415(7)]
- Violation of the Solicitation of Contributions Act [F.S.S. 496.415(13)]
- Violation of the Solicitation of Contributions Act [F.S.S. 496.415(16)]