North Carolina Man Charged with Defrauding Employer's Charity Matching Gift Program
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Brian C. Turner, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that STEVEN KENT STRANGE, 49, of Bailey, North Carolina, was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint charging him with defrauding his employer’s charity matching gift program.
According to the criminal complaint, Strange is employed by Collins Aerospace, which is a business unit of United Technologies Corporation (“UTC”), based in Farmington, Connecticut. UTC has a Matching Gift Program, through which the company will match an employee donation, up to $25,000 annually, to a charity. In 2008, Strange established the Housing Development Foundation of North Carolina, Inc., and listed his residence at the principal office for the charity. Strange began working for Collins Aerospace in 2014.
The complaint alleges that, between approximately 2016 and June 2019, Strange defrauded UTC’s Matching Gift Program by submitting fraudulent records of donations, including fabricated cashiers checks, he and coworkers purportedly made to the Housing Development Foundation. Between 2017 and 2019, UTC transferred approximately $367,000 in matching funds to the Housing Development Foundation of North Carolina. A review of the foundation’s bank records reveal that a large portion of the foundation’s expenditures appears to be personal expenditures.
The complaint charges Strange with wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
Strange appeared yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Gates in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was released pending his court appearance in the District of Connecticut.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher W. Schmeisser.
U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina for its assistance with yesterday’s arrest and court proceeding.