Daycare Center Bankrupted for Home Shopping?
DA Charges Board Members who Used Non-Profit as Own ATM
BRONX– Two former board members of a Bronx non-profit were charged with using the daycare’s bank account as their own personal ATM, buying clothes and more.
District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark G. Peters announced that two Bronx women who held board member positions at now-shuttered East Tremont Head Start Alumni Day Care Center have been charged with Grand Larceny and related crimes for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the non-profit for their personal use.
District Attorney Clark said, “The defendants betrayed the trust of the organization they had long been board members of, together allegedly stealing nearly $130,000. Their reckless actions contributed to the closing of this daycare, resulting in children and workers who had to be placed in other facilities. We will not tolerate rip-offs of government funds.”
Department of Investigation Commissioner Peters said, “These defendants used this City-funded nonprofit like their personal ATM, pocketing tens of thousands of dollars, in some cases, to pay for shopping at Macy’s and QVC, rent, and even a funeral. As the board chair and treasurer of this nonprofit, these defendants exploited their insider access and disregarded their duty to help the low-income children that East Tremont Head Start was supposed to serve. DOI was pleased to partner with the Bronx District Attorney’s Office to stop the criminal conduct uncovered in this investigation.”
District Attorney Clark said defendants, Paulette New, 63, of Southern Blvd., and Angela Grindley, 56, of Morgan Ave., were indicted on third-degree Grand Larceny and third-degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. New was additionally indicted on second-degree Grand Larceny and second-degree Criminal Possession of Stolen Property. Both defendants were arraigned before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett. They were released and are due back in court on January 30, 2018. If convicted of the top charge, New faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison and Grindley faces a maximum of two-and-a-third years to seven years in prison.
According to the investigation, from April 2011 to April 2015, New, who was the chairperson of the board of the East Tremont Head Start Alumni Day Care Center, improperly used approximately $100,000 of the Center’s funds. The defendant allegedly frequently withdrew money from the Center’s account from ATM machines and made several transfers to her bank account, using much of the money to purchase personal items from televised home shopping sites QVC and HSN. She also allegedly used the Center’s fund to pay for her sister’s funeral.
According to the investigation, starting in 2013, Grindley, who was on the board as the daycare’s treasurer, allegedly received more than $29,000 from the nonprofit.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Miriam Bell-Blair, Director of the Immigrant Affairs Unit, under the supervision of William Zelenka, Chief of the Economic Crimes Bureau and under the overall supervision of Stuart Levy, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division and Jean T. Walsh, Chief of the Investigations Division.
District Attorney Clark thanked her Office’s Senior Detective Investigator John Wall and Senior Rackets Investigator Marco Conelli and former Assistant District Attorney Gabriel Altman for their assistance in the case.
The investigation was conducted with DOI’s Office of Inspector General for City-funded not-for-profits, including Senior Investigative Auditor Nicole Clyne and First Deputy Inspector General/Chief Forensic Auditor Ivette Morales, under the supervision of Inspector General Andrew Sein and under the overall supervision of Deputy Commissioner/Chief of Investigations Susan Lambiase and First Deputy Commissioner Lesley Brovner.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.