Former Chief Financial Officer Pleads Guilty To Federal Charge In Theft Of More Than $1 Million From Non-ProfitActivities Took Place Over Seven Years, With Money Being Used For Defendant’s Personal Benefit
WASHINGTON – Zachery K. Shaw, 52, the former chief financial officer of a non-profit dedicated to youths and young adults, pled guilty today to a federal charge stemming from a seven-year scheme involving the theft of more than $1 million of organization funds, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Gary R. Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Shaw, of Glenn Dale, Md., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a charge of theft of federal program funds. The Honorable John D. Bates scheduled sentencing for June 26, 2013. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Shaw faces a likely range of 37 months to 46 months in prison and a fine of up to $75,000. As part of the plea agreement, Shaw has agreed to the entry of a forfeiture money judgment against him in the amount of $1,113,245.
According to a statement of offense signed by the government and the defendant, Shaw worked from 1993 through 2009 for Youth Services America (YSA), a non-profit with a mission to “improve communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5-25, serving in substantive roles.” The organization received federal funds for various purposes, including services for children and youth. Shaw began work as a part-time bookkeeper. In 1996, he was promoted to Director of Finance. He became Chief Financial Officer in or around 2006.
From in or approximately 2002 until the summer of 2009, when he left YSA, Shaw transferred about $1,113,245 of the non-profit’s funds to pay personal bills and make purchases for his benefit and the benefit of friends. The money was transferred through dozens of fraudulent wire transfers and forged checks to Shaw’s personal bank account, bank accounts of organizations he controlled, and credit card companies from which Shaw had obtained credit cards.
Among other things, Shaw caused YSA to transfer $289,829 to a fictitious company that he created, called “A Few Good Brothers,” or “AFGB.” AFGB did not have any employees, and was used to hold parties and promote events at night clubs. Additionally, and without YSA approval, Shaw used $26,561 of the non-profit’s money to pay for season tickets from 2002 until 2007 for the Washington Wizards professional basketball games.
“Zachery Shaw abused his position of trust to steal more than $1 million from programs for our youth,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “He committed fraud dozens of times over seven years in an effort to enrich himself at the expense of our kids. His prosecution demonstrates our commitment to protecting charities and their donors from con men.”
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Inspector in Charge Barksdale commended the work of the Special Agents who investigated the case from the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel Friedman, Mary Chris Dobbie, and Jonathan P. Hooks; Paralegal Specialist Diane Hayes, and Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Smith, who is prosecuting the matter.