Former Director of Springfield Veteran’s Outreach Center Arraigned in Connection with Stealing more than $35,000 from Organization and Community Development Grant Program
SPRINGFIELD – The former executive director of a veteran’s outreach center has been arraigned in connection with stealing more than $35,000 from the organization itself and from federal funds distributed through the City of Springfield as a community development grant, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
Christopher Adam Scott, age 53, of Springfield, was arraigned this morning in Hampden Superior Court on the charges of Larceny over $250 (2 counts) and Procurement Fraud. At the arraignment, Scott pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on $5,000 personal surety, with the conditions that he stay away from all witnesses, return to rehabilitation for substance abuse, and allow Probation to monitor his treatment. Superior Court Judge Carey presided over the arraignment.
The AG’s Office began an investigation in February 2012 after the matter was referred by the Springfield City Solicitor. Scott worked as the Executive Director of Mason Square Veteran's Outreach Center (MSVOC), located in Springfield, from its opening in 2006 until its closing in February 2012. MSVOC provided counseling, benefits, and health information to veterans. Scott was a signatory on the MSVOC bank accounts and his duties included preparing financial documents, paying bills, and seeking out funding sources.
Authorities allege that Scott stole more than half, or approximately $17,000, of federal grant funds awarded to MSVOC for a community development project. MSVOC received funding from various sources including from the City of Springfield's Community Development Office through a 2010 Community Development Block Grant funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
MSVOC was awarded more than $31,000 for their proposal to eliminate architectural barriers within the organization’s building to allow better handicapped access. The investigation revealed Scott submitted falsified, materially-altered, and duplicate receipts to the City's Community Development Office pursuant to that grant. As a result, less than half of the grant money was used to complete the project and authorities allege that the remainder was stolen by Scott for his personal benefit.
Further investigation revealed that over the six year period that Scott served as Executive Director, he allegedly stole more than $20,000 for his personal use from MSVOC’s bank accounts through cash withdrawals, checks written to cash, and unauthorized loans.
A Hampden Grand Jury returned indictments against Scott on March 26. He was arraigned today in Hampden Superior Court and is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on July 17.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Beth Ann Lux of AG Coakley’s Western Massachusetts Regional Office with assistance from Senior Financial Investigator Mark Pulli and State Police assigned to the Attorney General’s Office.