Executive Director Of Non-Profit Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud, Admits Using More Than $200,000 In Grants For Personal Use- Used Money Meant For Youth Programs For Gambling, Other Personal Expenses-
WASHINGTON - Keely E. Thompson Jr., 47, executive director of Keely’s District Boxing and Youth Center, pled guilty today to a federal charge of wire fraud stemming from a scheme in which he spent District of Columbia and private grant funds, meant for youth programs and activities, on personal goods, entertainment, and services.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Charles J. Willoughby, Inspector General for the District of Columbia.
Thompson, of Accokeek, Md., entered the plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan scheduled sentencing for Oct. 9, 2013. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison as well as financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range for the offense is a prison term of 27 to 33 months and a fine between $6,000 and $60,000. The plea agreement calls for Thompson to pay $205,000 in restitution to the entities that granted the misspent funds. It also calls for the forfeiture of a money judgment in the amount of at least $205,000.
According to a statement of offense, signed by the defendant as well as the government, Keely’s District Boxing and Youth Center was a non-profit organization based at locations in Northwest and Northeast Washington. The operations were funded with grant money. The funds were to be used to carry out the boxing program’s mission of promoting youth development.
Thompson admitted improperly using $205,000 in funds. The spending included $105,000 for gambling at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J. and on a cruise ship; $50,000 for meals at restaurants, purchases at grocery stores, concerts, speeding tickets and clothing, and an additional $50,000 on other unauthorized expenditures.
“Keely Thompson squandered tax dollars, meant to help children, at the casino,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “He lied to secure public and charitable funds that he stole for his own frivolous entertainment. This case echoes the message we have delivered time and time again - criminals who rob the taxpayers to satisfy their own greed will be pursued and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Today, Mr. Thompson admitted to taking money meant to improve the lives of youth in the District of Columbia and instead using it to finance his own lifestyle,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “Such corrupt behavior is unacceptable, and those who commit such acts will be held accountable."
Thompson was arrested in November 2010 and has been free on personal recognizance while the case remained pending. In November 2012, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him and his wife, Bianca Thompson, the non-profit’s deputy director, with wire fraud and other offenses. The plea agreement in Keely Thompson’s case calls for the indictment against Bianca Thompson to be dismissed at the time of his sentencing.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge Parlave, and Inspector General Willoughby commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the District of Columbia Inspector General’s Office. They also expressed appreciation for those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Nicole Wattelet, Krishawn Graham and Diane Hayes, and Victim/Witness Advocate Yvonne Bryant, and Jelahn Stewart, Chief of the Victim Witness Assistance Unit. Finally, they praised the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth B. Waxman and Lionel André, who are prosecuting the case.