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Press Release

Rochester Not For Profit Employee Pleads Guilty In Federal Court To Defrauding The NYS Dormitory Authority

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

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

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Shirley Boone, 61, of Rochester, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard A. Resnick and Melissa M. Marangola, who are handling the case, stated that the defendant was the Chief of Staff at NEAD, a not-for-profit neighborhood tax-exempt organization, governed by a volunteer board of directors with day-to-day operations overseen by an Executive Director. Volunteers and staff worked with city officials and agencies to revitalize and stabilize the Sector 8 neighborhood in the northeast quadrant of Rochester. Boones’ duties included securing grants for NEAD, which was funded primarily by grants. 

On February 23, 2018, NEAD paid Freedom Community Enterprise Inc. $45,000 to make it falsely appear that Freedom Community had replaced NEAD’s roof and worked on other rehabilitation projects. Freedom Community was a for-profit subsidiary of NEAD and was established to further NEAD’s objective of providing affordable economic opportunities for neighborhood residents. Freedom Community also operated a convenience store located in the Northeast quadrant of Rochester. Freedom Community was not a construction company, nor did it replace NEAD’s roof or perform other rehabilitation projects for NEAD.

Subsequently, the defendant sent documentation to the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) indicating that Freedom Community had in fact replaced NEAD’s roof and performed other rehabilitation services, along with documentation of the $45,000 payment. As a result, NEAD fraudulently received a $45,000 grant from DASNY on July 16, 2018.  

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Guyton, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Brad Geary.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 9, 2020, before Judge Wolford.

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Updated July 1, 2020

Financial Fraud