Former Goodwill Employee Charged in Scheme to Steal VA Grant Money
HOUSTON – A former employee of Goodwill Industries of Houston Inc. and another person have been taken into custody following the return of a 15-count indictment involving a wire fraud conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
Darrell Demond Arline, 36, of Pearland, and Aaron Matthew Pierce, 36, of Houston, were taken into custody today. They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson at 2:00 p.m.
Arline worked for Goodwill and served as program director for two Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) grants for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), according to the indictment. The SSVF grants were intended to provide supportive services to very low-income military veteran families who were residing in permanent housing, were homeless and scheduled to become residents of permanent housing within 90 days and, after exiting permanent housing, were seeking other housing that was responsive to such very low-income military veteran family’s needs.
The indictment alleges that between Jan. 3, 2013, and Aug. 28, 2014, Arline submitted fraudulent purchase orders resulting in the theft of SSVF grant monies. Arline allegedly recruited Pierce to use his name and a sham real estate business to cash the fraudulently-acquired SSVF grant checks.
Both men are charged in the conspiracy. Arline faces 14 substantive counts of wire fraud, while Pierce is charged with three.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine on each count of conviction.
The indictment was the result of an investigation conducted by VA - Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel C. Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.