Chief Financial Officer of Non-Profit Pleads Guilty to Theft of Federal Grant Funds
Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that RICKEY ROBERSON, age 49, of New Orleans, pled guilty yesterday to one count of theft of federal grant funds.
According to court documents, from at least 2010 to the present, ROBERSON and his wife operated Alternatives Living, Inc., a non-profit that received federal funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Alternatives Living provided affordable housing to the elderly, families who were homeless, and individuals suffering from mental disabilities. As a condition to receiving federal funds, Alternatives Living agreed to comply with applicable rules and regulations governing the manner and use of the CDBG funds. Applicable program rules, including OMB Circular No. A-122, prohibited the use of CDBG funds for entertainment purposes (i.e., social activities and tickets to shows and sporting events), fundraising, personal tuition costs, and costs of goods or services for personal use. Rules allowed reimbursement for travel costs and conferences only if those costs were related to the mission of the organization and consistent with those costs normally allowed.
ROBERSON pled guilty to using CDBG federal grant funds to pay for his daughter’s cellphone bill in the amount of $4,663. As part of his plea agreement, ROBERSON agreed that he also used federal grant funds to pay for his son’s cellphone bill, personal travel, satellite radio, concert tickets, medical bills for his children, cruise expenses, and repairs to a personal Cadillac Escalade and Audi TT. ROBERSON agreed that the total amount of restitution that he owes exceeds $84,000.
ROBERSON faces a maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a special assessment of $100.00. ROBERSON will owe restitution of more than $84,000 to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt set sentencing for December 20, 2017.
Acting U.S. Attorney Evans praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, the Office of State Inspector General, and Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office in investigating this matter. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Sharan E. Lieberman and Brian M. Klebba, both of the Fraud Section, are in charge of the prosecution.