MANHATTAN (CN) - United Block Association's chief executive and his wife redirected nearly $1 million meant to help senior citizens to finance their home, luxury car and family overseas, federal prosecutors charged Wednesday.
Kwame Insaidoo, a 59-year-old resident of Bay Shore, N.Y., has headed the Manhattan-based charity since 1993.
Founded in 1955, the nonprofit's mission statement focuses on food and health services to senior citizens in Harlem. It reported roughly $1.5 million in revenue and expenses in its last publicly available report from 2013.
The figure is similar to what Insaidoo and his wife, Roxanna Pearson, allegedly swiped from United Block Association to enrich their shell company Allied Home Care for roughly seven years since 2008, according to a 17-page criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.
Between July 3, 2008, and April 9, 2015, the charity issued 251 checks worth more than $194,000 to Allied Home Care or variations of that name, which were deposited into a shell corporation, prosecutors claim.
Insaidoo and Pearson allegedly used these Allied Home Care accounts to buy a four-bedroom home in Long Island and a "late-model luxury sedan," and to pay for clothes, utilities, insurance and loans.
These accounts also wired about $76,000 to a "bank in Ghana, where family members of the Insaidoo and Pearson reside," the complaint states.
United Block Association also issued hundreds of checks overpaying Insaidoo more than $677,000 and Pearson more than $195,000, prosecutors allege.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who has made anti-corruption a focus of his tenure, said in a statement that Insaidoo "abused his position of trust as a provider of public services to enrich himself and his family."
"Kwame Insaidoo and Roxanna Pearson allegedly diverted close to a million dollars in public funds designed to assist our city's elderly and spent it on themselves," Bharara added.
United Block Association's phone number listed on its financial filings could not be reached.
Insaidoo and Pearson each face up to 85 years in prison if convicted of all five counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and conspiracy to embezzle from a federally funded program.
They are expected to appear in court on Wednesday afternoon.