- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Former Head of Homeless Shelter Sued for Lying to the State and Profiting From His Own Improper Self-Dealing
BOSTON — The former executive director of Casa Nueva Vida (CNV), a publicly funded non-profit homeless shelter with locations in Boston and Lawrence, has been sued for abusing his position to improperly funnel more than $2 million in state money to himself, all while falsely certifying compliance with state regulations designed to detect such improper self-dealing, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
The complaint, filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges Manuel Duran, the former Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, President and Board Member of CNV, used shell companies he established and owned to purchase properties he then leased to CNV at above-market rates, pocketing the difference. The AG’s Office alleges that Duran’s failure to disclose his related party transactions allowed more than $2 million of state funds to be funneled to him for inflated rental payments and for improvements to properties he controlled and owned.
“For many years and through various illegal schemes, Duran abused his position as the head of a non-profit homeless shelter to improperly funnel state funds to himself,” AG Healey said. “We’ve taken action to hold him accountable for allegedly lining his pockets with millions of dollars in state funding meant for the shelter and the families it serves.”
At the time of the filing of the complaint, the Court froze four of Duran’s bank accounts in the amount of $2 million. The AG’s office sought the Court order due to risk that Duran could flee from Massachusetts with cash, having recently sold several properties in the state.
From March 2003 through March 2021, Duran served in various leadership roles at CNV, a non-profit that was at least 92 percent state funded from fiscal year 2015 through 2019, that allowed him to control CNV’s day-to-day operations, as well as its real estate investments and leases.
The AG’s Office alleges that from fiscal year 2014 through 2019, Duran caused CNV to submit documents to the state that failed to disclose Duran’s own personal or business transactions with CNV, known as “related party transactions,” and enabled CNV to receive $33 million in state funding under a contract with the Department of Housing and Community Development for emergency homeless shelter services. CNV was required to disclose any related party transactions to ensure the state that it was engaging in transactions on an arm’s length basis and was spending state funds in a fair and reasonably prudent manner. By not disclosing information regarding his related party transactions with CNV, Duran made it impossible for the state to evaluate CNV’s continued eligibility as a contractor.
Duran was also criminally indicted on Monday by a Suffolk County Grand Jury.
This civil case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Mary-Ellen Kennedy and Special Assistant Attorney General Coleman Gay, with assistance from Division Chief Amy Crafts and Paralegal Cara Bradley, all of AG Healey’s False Claims Division, and Senior Investigator Marlee Greer of the Civil Investigations Division.
The False Claims Division was created by AG Healey to safeguard public funds and promote integrity and accountability in public contracting. AG Healey urges anyone with information about suspected fraud or abuse relating to state or municipal contracts or funds to contact the False Claims Division’s tip line at 617-963-2600.