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Post date: July 30 2014

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictment Of Executive Tied To Capital Region Nonprofit Organizations

C.O.O. Charged With Stealing Over $1 Million In New York State Grants, Falsifying Timesheets To Hide No-Show Employment

Schneiderman: There Must Be One Set Of Rules For Everyone, And Those Who Abuse A Charity To Rip Off New Yorkers Will Be Prosecuted

SCHENECTADY -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest and indictment of Jacqueline Gentile,  chief operating officer of 820 River Street, Inc. and The Altamont Program Inc., which are subsidiaries of the Peter Young Housing, Industries and Treatment (PYHIT). The indictment, which was voted by a Schenectady County grand jury earlier this week, charges Gentile with 15 felony counts, including Grand Larceny, for allegedly stealing over $1 million in state funds by directing that state contracts intended to help needy New Yorkers instead be used to alleviate organizational deficits and pay employee salaries. Gentile also falsified business records by completing false timesheets for former New York State Senator William F. Boyland, Sr., who was purportedly a full-time employee but, according to documents filed in court, had what amounted to a no-show job. 

“This indictment sends the message that there has to be one set of rules for everyone and that those who use a charity to rip off New Yorkers will be prosecuted,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “New York has the greatest nonprofit sector in the country, and this case reminds us that we must vigilantly protect it. I am committed to using every tool at my disposal to prevent people from abusing the public trust and cheating charities out of the funds they need to perform vital services.”

PYHIT is an umbrella organization operating through five nonprofit subsidiaries in New York:  820 River Street, Inc.; The Altamont Program, Inc.; VESTA Community Housing Development Board, Inc.; Peter Young Shelter Services, Inc., and The Father Peter G. Young, Jr. Foundation, Inc. The Attorney General’s Office has been investigating PYHIT for more than a year and that investigation is still active and ongoing  Gentile is the fifth high-ranking PYHIT employee to be charged with felonies in connection with that investigation. According to documents filed in court, several witnesses have described to investigators a “culture of corruption” within PYHIT.  Gentile has held a leadership role with PYHIT for over a decade.

Four other current or former PYHIT employees have already pleaded guilty to crimes including Grand Larceny and Falsifying Business Records. Most notably, Dennis Bassat and Dawn LaCarte, formerly the COO and executive director of 820 River Street, Inc,, respectively, admitted stealing approximately $200,000 from the company. 

According to court papers filed today, the investigation revealed that from 2005 to 2009, The Altamont Program, Inc. received approximately $1.5 million in state funds that were sponsored by former New York State Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr.  During this time, five contract proposals for approximately $300,000 each were submitted by Altamont and approved by the State. The stated purpose of each proposal, as well as the accompanying vouchers and fiscal reports, was to support substance abuse or training programs based in Brooklyn.

However, according to today’s indictment and other court papers, the majority of grant funds  were not allocated to those programs.  Rather than using the state monies for the intended contract purposes, the defendant is alleged to have directed or permitted the funds to be used to alleviate organizational deficits and to pay employees’ salaries, including her own. Several witnesses have provided statements to the Attorney General’s Office and FBI supporting these charges. Numerous business records and government documents further support the charges. The Attorney General’s investigation also indicated that, since at least 2006, the company’s financial picture was in continuous decline.  

Additionally, from approximately August 2009 through January 2010, Gentile allegedly completed false 820 River Street, Inc. timesheets for William Frank Boyland, Sr., the father of former New York State Assemblyman William Boyland, Jr. While employment records of 820 River Street Inc., listed Boyland Sr. as a full-time employee, the investigation revealed that he did not work the hours claimed and Gentile allegedly knew the records she filed were false. Government funding accounted for over 90 percent of 820 River Street, Inc.’s revenue and paid for approximately 90 percent of Boyland Sr.’s $50,000 salary.

The indictment, which was unsealed today in Schenectady County Court, charges Gentile with one count of Grand Larceny in the First Degree; two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, and 12 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. The top count of the indictment carries a maximum sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in state prison.  

The Attorney General thanks Special Agents Timothy Coll and Michelle Pherson of the FBI’s Albany office and auditors John Rybaltowski, Richard Cicero, James Newell and Michael Kester of the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs for their invaluable cooperation and assistance in this investigation.  

Prosecuting the case are Assistant Attorneys General Darren Miller, Colleen Glavin and YuJin Hong of the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Bureau, which is led by Chief Daniel Cort, Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The investigation was handled by Mark Spencer and Antoine Karam of the Attorney General's Investigations Bureau, which is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella, with assistance provided by forensic auditor Jason Blair. 

The charges are merely accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone with additional information on this matter is asked to call the Attorney General’s Office at 518-474-8686.

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