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Justice News

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Stealing Funds Intended For Buffalo Schools

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051 

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Hassan El Saddique, 36, of Amherst, NY, pleaded guilty to theft of money in control and possession of a bank before Senior U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny. The misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.    

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick, who is handling the case, stated that between June 2009 and October 2010, the defendant made it appear that he had entered into a contract for consultant services with the Buffalo Board of Education. The alleged contract falsely stated that El Saddique would perform services at the Universal School. The defendant never provided services at the school.

At the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, El Saddique did begin assisting with the Title I Program at Bishop Timon High School. These services were performed voluntarily and without pay.

However, between October 2009 and October 2010, the defendant submitted 19 fraudulent invoices to the Buffalo Board of Education for payment for services that were never performed or done voluntarily at the Universal School and Bishop Timon high School. El Saddique received 18 checks totaling $15,120 and retained a portion of those funds. 

On June 1, 2016, the defendant’s mother, Debbie Buckley, was convicted of theft of government funds. Buckley served as Supervisor of Title I, Office of Federal and State Programs for the Buffalo School District. Title I is a federally funded program that provides assistance to school districts with high numbers of children from low income families. In March 2010, Buckley was promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Federal and State Programs.
Buckley changed the approval process by which a contractor was paid for Title I services provided in non-public schools. She eliminated the need for a signature from an official at the non-public school. Buckley did this so that she could sign the fraudulent invoices submitted by her son authorizing the payment of the invoices. The dates of some of these invoices coincide with the period during which Buckley was promoted to Assistant Superintendent.

Today’s plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Assistant Special Agent in Charge Geoff Wood.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 26, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Skretny.

Updated June 23, 2016