Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Nonprofit Director Pleads Guilty In Embezzlement Case

The director of Rockingham County's Community Action Program (RCCAP) pleaded guilty yesterday to embezzling almost $1 million from a Sanford, ME nonprofit he headed.

According to a report in Foster's Daily Democrat, 56-year old Thomas Nelson admitted to stealing $900,000 from York County Community Action Corporation (YCCAC) before he left for his new position at RCCAP in New Hampshire two years ago. Thompson had worked for YCCAC for 21 years.

The money was stolen from 2004-2010 and, according to court documents, was used by Thompson for gambling and to pay off mortgage and credit card bills. He is also accused of failing to report almost $400,000 in stolen income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and with creating false income returns for a defunct nonprofit, the New England Community Action Agency, to cover up his theft.

"Through his actions, YCCAC's former Executive Director betrayed the trust placed in him by the board, and compromised the organization's ability to invest in and support initiatives that would have helped our clients," YCCAC's board of directors said in a statement. "Certainly, the organization deeply regrets and shares with the community a sense of anger that those funds were not available for enhancing services to clients."

YCCAC receives its money from a mix of federal, state, and private funding. Nelson's attorney, Jeff Silverstein, and a lawyer representing the organization both confirmed that none of the cash came from the federal government. Nelson instead embezzled from "unrestricted" cash funds controlled by the nonprofit. YCCAC confirmed that it is insured against the losses.

As part of the plea deal, Nelson agreed to pay $1.2 million restitution to YCCAC and $150,000 to the IRS. He also faces the following sentences for each charge he pleaded guilty to:

  • Five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy count;
  • Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the embezzlement count;
  • Up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 on six counts of tax evasion; and,
  • Up to three years and a fine of up to $100,000 on two counts of filing a false tax return.
You can read the full story in the Foster's Daily Democrat.

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