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Queens Nonprofit Head Pleads Guilty To Stealing Funds

The head of a nonprofit youth camp in Queens, N.Y. pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds allocated by state lawmakers.

Van Holmes, president of the Young Leaders Institute Inc., was arrested on July 16th on charges that he misused $850,000 in member items that were set aside for the organization over several years. According to a report in The Times Ledger, Holmes claimed he would use the money to take campers on trips to Wall Street and Albany, but prosecutors allege that he used nearly $77,000 of the funds to pay employees of an after-school programs he ran.

Holmes has agreed to pay back tens of thousands of dollars to the state.

“Today’s plea and sentencing are an appropriate punishment for the crimes committed against the taxpayers of New York and the children for whom these funds were intended,” said state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a join statement. “We thank the Department of Investigation, as well as staff in both the attorney general’s and comptroller’s offices, for their diligent work and a successful outcome in this case.”

A large portion of the grants that Holmes received came from then-State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Queens), who allocated almost $80,000 in funds for Young Leaders Institute. Huntley plead guilty earlier this year to embezzling $88,000 from the Parents Workshop, an education nonprofit she helped create. Her case is not related to Holmes’, authorities said.

You can read the full story in The Times Ledger.

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