Skip to main content
Press Release

Former Finance Director Of Nonprofit Serving Underprivileged Youth Charged With Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today the arrest of MICHELLE FOLEY, a former employee of a Manhattan-based nonprofit organization that provides arts and mentoring programs to underserved youth.  FOLEY is charged with bank, wire, and access device fraud in connection with her theft of funds from the organization.  FOLEY will be presented today in Manhattan federal court before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Michelle Foley allegedly used her position at a nonprofit to steal funds intended for disadvantaged youth.  Rather than directing the organization’s funds to those in need, Foley allegedly used over $150,000 for her own selfish gain, including a trip to Disney World and a puppy.  Today Michelle Foley is charged with serious federal crimes for her alleged conduct.” 

According to the allegations in the Complaint sworn out today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

The nonprofit organization, founded in 1998, is based in New York, New York, and provides arts and mentoring programs to low-income, homeless, and neglected children.  From at least in or about July 2017 up to and including in or about February 2018, FOLEY abused her position as the organization’s director of finance and operations by stealing more than $150,000 from the organization.  FOLEY issued unauthorized checks on behalf of the organization to herself, totaling more than $56,000, and obtained two corporate credit cards, which were linked to the organization’s bank account and which she used to make personal, unauthorized purchases.   During the course of her employment, FOLEY charged more than $100,000 to these credit cards, including by making payments for a puppy, home furnishings and appliances, and expenses associated with a trip to Disney World. 

*                      *                     *

FOLEY, 45, of Wilton, Connecticut, is charged with one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of access device fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Special Agents for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Elinor L. Tarlow is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated April 24, 2018

Press Release Number: 18-133