Former New Bedford Housing Authority Employee Pleads Guilty, Sentenced in Connection with Stealing $13,800 from Agency
Also Pleads Guilty in Connection with Allegedly Stealing More Than $50,000 from a Friend
BOSTON – A former employee of the New Bedford Housing Authority (NBHA) has pleaded guilty and been sentenced in connection with stealing $13,800 from the agency by submitting fraudulent expense reimbursements, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today. The former employee also pleaded guilty in connection with making more than $30,000 in unauthorized credit card charges, stealing more than $50,000 from a longtime friend, and possessing cocaine.
Danny Romanowicz II, 31, of New Bedford, pleaded guilty today in Bristol Superior Court to charges of Larceny over $250 (10 counts), Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card (7 counts), and Possession of a Class B Substance.
“This defendant is being held accountable for abusing his position and stealing thousands of dollars from the New Bedford Housing Authority,” AG Coakley said. “He stole this money from a community organization whose mission is to provide affordable housing and enrich local neighborhoods.”
After the plea was entered, Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh sentenced Romanowicz to serve two-and-a-half years in the House of Correction, suspended for a period of five years. The Commonwealth requested that Romanowicz be sentenced to two years in the House of Correction, with one year to serve.
During that five year period, Romanowicz must stay away from the victim or any NBHA employees, must refrain from drug and alcohol use, and will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing. Judge Garsh also ordered that Romanowicz pay restitution to the NBHA in the amount of $13,800 and to the victim in the amount of $50,945. A violation of any of these terms and conditions could result in a period of incarceration.
In September 2010, the AG’s Office began an investigation after the matter was referred by the New Bedford Police Department and the Inspector General’s Office. Romanowicz worked as a Senior Project Manager in the Modernization, Planning and Development Office of the NBHA. From March 2009 through February 2010, Romanowicz submitted numerous fraudulent requests for reimbursement seeking compensation from the NBHA for money he claimed to have spent on work-related educational expenses, computer software, digital data, and auto mileage. He was reimbursed for his purported expenditures and collected approximately $13,800 from the NBHA. Further investigation revealed that Romanowicz never actually attended the classes, purchased the software or data, or travelled the mileage as he claimed.
During the same time of the defrauding of the NBHA, Romanowicz was also stealing from his longtime friend. Beginning in or around September 2008, Romanowicz made more than $30,000 worth of unauthorized charges to seven different credit cards in his friend’s name over a period of approximately five months. Romanowicz also stole more than $50,000 from that same friend between June 2009 and February 2010.
In December 2010, Romanowicz was arrested in New Bedford by the New Bedford Police after they observed him participate in an alleged drug transaction.
A Bristol Grand Jury returned indictments against Romanowicz on March 22, 2012 and he was arraigned on April 26, 2012. He pleaded guilty today in Bristol Superior Court.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta of AG Coakley’s Public Integrity Division. It was investigated by Sallyann Nelligan, Director of AG Coakley’s Financial Investigations Division, Victim Witness Advocate Shannon Legrice, also from the AG’s Office, the New Bedford Police Department, the Massachusetts Office of Inspector General, and Special Agent in Charge Cortez Richardson of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General.