From Capital Tonight:
As expected, former Queens Sen. Shirley Huntley has pleaded guilty to a mail fraud charge stemming from her embezzlement over a three-year period of $87,700 from Parents Information Network, Inc. – a nonprofit that received public funds to (ostensibly) help educate parents about the New York City public school system.
According to US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch, Huntley stole the money between October 2005 and October 2008, and falsely certified to the state that the cash would be used, and had been used, to support PIN’s charitable mission.
Instead, Huntley used the money for her own personal benefit and for the benefit of her family members and associates.
Lynch said Huntley ran the nonprofit and controlled its finances. She stole from the organization by writing over $21,000 in checks from the PIN account to herself and a family member.
The former senator used $500 of PIN funds to pay her personal credit card bill and embezzled more than $34,000 from PIN through ATM withdrawals, Lynch said.
Huntley also embezzled funds from PIN by using straw recipients, who posed as legitimate recipients of payments from PIN. She wrote checks for $24,500 to the straw recipients, who cashed the checks and returned substantially all of the funds to Huntley in cash.
In her plea agreement with the government, Huntley agreed to make restitution of $87,700 to the state Department of Education for the funds she embezzled. In addition, Huntley also agreed to make restitution of $1,000 in connection with an unrelated bribery scheme involving a cargo-handling business at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
The guilty plea took place before U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein. When sentenced, Huntley faces up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, in addition to restitution.