Former Director of Springfield Veteran’s Outreach Center Sentenced to Jail for Stealing $34,000 From Organization and Community Development Grant Program
SPRINGFIELD – The former executive director of a veteran’s outreach center has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to jail for stealing $34,000 from the organization 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 55, of Springfield, pleaded guilty today in Hampden Superior Court to the charges of Larceny over $250 (2 counts) and Procurement Fraud.
After the plea was entered Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Kinder sentenced Scott to two-and-a-half years in the House of Correction with 18 months to serve and the balance suspended for a probationary period of three years, during which he must undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with conditions. Judge Kinder also ordered Scott to pay $28,000 in restitution to the City of Springfield’s General Fund.
“This defendant stole tens of thousands of dollars from this charity, which was set up for the benefit of veterans who bravely served our country,” AG Coakley said. “He exploited his position as director of the veteran’s outreach center to commit this crime.”
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.
Scott stole $14,000 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 its 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, only about half of the grant money was used to complete the project and 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 stole $20,000 for his personal use from MSVOC’s bank accounts through cash withdrawals, checks written to cash, and unauthorized loans.
This case was 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.
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