NYC Couple Pockets $1 Million in Funds Intended to Feed the Elderly

The head of a city-funded nonprofit that delivers meals to senior citizens, pocketed nearly $1 million from the foundation from 2008-2016. The money was used to pay for the family’s Long Island home, late model luxury sedan, and clothes, among other personal expenses, federal officials charged Wednesday, February 3, 2016.

United Block Association Executive Director Kwame Insaidoo, 59, and his wife Roxanna Pearson, 62, allegedly swindled $953,875 in 200 checks, through a shell company they owned called Allied Home Care Services, federal prosecutors say in court papers.

They are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to embezzle government funds, embezzlement of government funds and money laundering conspiracy.

According to the NY Daily News, “Since 2008, the New York City Department for the Aging has awarded UBA $11,682,213 in contracts for programs for the elderly, and the centers have received more than $24 million in city contracts since 1999.” The contracts are “partially federally funded,” according to prosecutors.

The New York City’s Department of Investigation and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, found that UBA foully over-reported and over-billed the city for food supplies.

In one instance, UBA billed for and received $61,868 for $3,532 worth of food.

The Department for the Aging is required to audit the dozens of nonprofit organizations to which it steers public funds, but DOI found the agency’s audit staff was “understaffed and overburdened,” with only two auditors struggling with a caseload of 100 nonprofit groups each.

Because the auditors don’t have time for a thorough review, Insaidoo and Pearson were able to siphon UBA funds for personal use undetected.

In a statement made Wednesday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said, “As alleged, an executive director of a nonprofit organization, with the assistance of his wife, abused his position of trust as a provider of public services to enrich himself and his family,”

As reported, the Department for the Aging “will work closely with DOI and the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services to review oversight of contracts.

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