A New York City pastor was charged with stealing over $631,000 from two charities that served HIV/AIDS-infected drug addicts and spent much of the money on things like Carribean vacations as well as restaurant and bar tabs.
Bronx pastor Reginald Williams of Charity Baptist Church of Christ and two others — Bennie Hadnott and Naomi Barrera — were arraigned on grand larceny charges in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday. The three pled not guilty to the charges, according to the New York Post.
Williams was the CEO of a tax-payer funded nonprofit called Addicts Rehabilitation Center Fund and was chairman of the board for another tax-payer funded entity Addicts Rehabilitation Center Foundation.
According to the district attorney’s office, the organizations contracted with the city and state agencies to provide housing to New Yorkers with substance and alcohol dependency issues as well as those who live with HIV/AIDs.
It’s alleged that Williams sought the help of Barrera and Hadnott to implement a series of schemes he devised to embezzle money from the organizations.
Barrera is the president of the ARC Foundation while Hadnott is a financial consultant who provided services to the ARC Foundation.
“As alleged, these defendants shamelessly stole from publicly funded organizations dedicated to helping vulnerable New Yorkers,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.
“Even while their organizations struggled financially – failing to meet contractual obligations and even furloughing employees without pay – these defendants continued to drain the coffers for their personal gain.”
Court documents indicate that since 2010, Williams acted with Hadnott and Barrera to steal $65,432.76 from the ARC Fund and $565,839.56 from the ARC Foundation through the various schemes.
One alleged scheme involved the ARC Foundation paying Hadnott’s consulting firm $40,000 a year for financial consulting services.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith