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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 21, 2018

Former Baruch College Basketball Coach And Athletics Official Sentenced To 20 Months In Prison For Embezzling More Than $700,000

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that MACHLI JOSEPH was sentenced to 20 months in prison for embezzling more than $700,000 in funds intended for Baruch College for the rental of their athletic facilities.  JOSEPH pled guilty in January 2018 before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty, who imposed today’s sentence.    

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Machli Joseph used the facilities of Baruch College as his own cash machine, renting them out without approval and without compensation to the school.  All told, his scheme diverted nearly three-quarters of a million dollars that should have been paid to the college.  Our Office is committed to pursuing those who misappropriate educational funds for their own profit.”

According to the Information and Complaint filed in this case, and statements made during the plea proceeding:     

MACHLI JOSEPH served as an athletic department official at Baruch College between 2002 and 2016.  He served as Baruch’s women’s basketball head coach between 2004 and 2014, its men’s basketball coach in 2002, as assistant athletic director from 2003 to 2011, and as associate athletic director from 2011 until August 2016.  At times when the Baruch College gym was not being used by the school’s athletic teams, it could be rented out to outside parties.  In his administrative capacity, JOSEPH had control over those gym rentals and their scheduling.

On numerous occasions between 2010 and 2016, JOSEPH rented the gym to outside parties, ostensibly on behalf of Baruch College.  In instructing the renting parties on how to provide payment, however, JOSEPH directed that payment be made to entities that were not, in fact, connected to Baruch College.  Instead, they were entities with bank accounts over which JOSEPH had personal control, some of which merely sounded like Baruch-affiliated entities.  On several occasions, JOSEPH simply directed that payment be made directly to him or individual associates of his.  Many of these funds were ultimately spent on personal expenses and items for JOSEPH and his family, including renovations to his home in New Jersey.  All told, the scheme improperly diverted over $700,000 of payments intended for Baruch College.

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In addition to the prison term, JOSEPH, 43, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $787,194, and to pay the same amount in restitution. 

Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the Department of Education – Office of the Inspector General and the New York State Inspector General’s Office.  

This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine E. Ghosh and Martin S. Bell are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Public Corruption
Press Release Number: 
18-205
Updated June 21, 2018