MANHATTAN (CN) – The chief of staff of a New York City Council member and another staffer face federal charges of embezzling $145,000 from the council. Federal prosecutors unsealed the indictment against chief of staff Asquith Reid and staffer Joycinth “Sue” Anderson.
The workers are charged with embezzling discretionary funds, which council members have great latitude in spending on nonprofits. Reid, chief of staff to Councilman Kendall Stewart, is accused of embezzling money designated for the Donna Reid Memorial Education Fund, which helps PTAs run after-school tutoring programs.
The NYC Department of Aging rejected a Donna Reid Fund application in 2004, upon finding that it shared an address with Asquith Reid. But the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) later approved the grant, prosecutors said. The DYCD disbursed $356,000 to the Donna Reid Fund.
Prosecutors say that though much of the money was spent correctly, Asquith Reid used $145,000 of it as a slush fund. He and/or two co-conspirators allegedly cashed $93,000 in check, sent $31,000 to family members and fiends in Jamaica, spent $18,000 on a hall used for a political club controlled by the councilman, and more than $3,000 on campaign literature for the councilman.
Reid and Anderson are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud and money laundering, each charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Reid also faces two counts of witness tampering, for allegedly instructing two witnesses to lie to a grand jury. Those counts also are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison.