Former Employee Of Twin Cities Nonprofit Pleads Guilty To Charity Fraud Conspiracy
United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty plea of AISHIA RENEE BELL, 49, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. BELL, who was charged by felony information on January 29, 2020, entered her guilty plea today before Senior Judge David S. Doty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A total of 12 defendants have pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from November 2014 through February 2019, BELL, a former employee of a Twin Cities non-profit organization that provides housing and related services to the homeless, devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the organization of charitable funds intended to help the homeless. As part of the scheme, BELL recruited an individual to pose as a vendor providing services to fictitious homeless clients, and then directed the individual to submit to the organization fraudulent IRS Forms W-9, lease agreements, and check requests that falsely claimed to provide housing to homeless clients. BELL and a co-conspirator submitted the fraudulent check requests and supporting documentation to the organization’s accounts payable department in order to facilitate the issuance of checks. Between November 2014 and June 2017, BELL caused the transmission of approximately 69 fraudulent check requests from the organization to its bank for checks totaling approximately $166,785.
During the course of the investigation, BELL attempted to conceal the full scope of the conspiracy by making false statements to law enforcement and by attempting to dissuade a co-conspirator from cooperating with law enforcement.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).
Assistant United States Attorney Miranda E. Dugi is prosecuting the case.
AISHIA RENEE BELL, 49
- Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 1 count
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600