NEW ORLEANS (CN) – A sister, brother and niece of U.S. Rep. William Jefferson embezzled $627,000 from the U.S. Department of Education and HUD and funneled it through nonprofits to for-profit companies they control, and to themselves, federal prosecutors say in a 31-count criminal indictment.
Lead defendant Betty Jefferson has been the elected Tax Assessor for the 4th District in Orleans Parish since May 1998, when the alleged conspiracy began.
All the following statements are alleged in the felony indictment: Betty Jefferson was president of the board of Greater St. Stephen Manor, a nonprofit, 41-unit elderly housing complex in New Orleans, which got $4 million in HUD money for capital improvements since 2004, and more money in housing assistance – $87,200 in 2005. She also controlled the nonprofits Care Unlimited and Central City, and several for-profit consultancies, including Jefferson Consultants, Jeffco Services and Maximal Home Mortgage. She allegedly used all of the companies “to transfer money from the nonprofits to the defendants and others”.
Angela Coleman is Betty Jefferson’s daughter; she also uses the name Angela Howard. She was president of the board of Care Unlimited. She also allegedly used her for-profit companies, Matco, The Matco Group, and A Plus Promotional Printing “to transfer money from the nonprofits to the defendants and others”.
Mose Jefferson was chairman of the board of Orleans Metro and controlled Southwind Consultants, Enterprise Consultants, and BEP Consulting Services, all of them for-profit companies “that received money and benefits from the defendants’ controlled non-profits”.
Rep. William Jefferson, a nine-term Democratic congressman, was indicted on bribery charges last year. He is running for re-election. He was not named in this indictment. The FBI raid of his congressional office and seizure of his computers caused a brouhaha, in which Congress described the raid as a violation of the separation of powers.
The defendants in this case each face more than 200 years in prison if convicted of all charges. The charges include conspiracy to commit mail fraud, program fraud and money laundering, aggravated identity theft, mail fraud, program fraud, and making false statements.