SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The former head of the Veteran’s Outreach Center in Mason Square has pleaded guilty to charges he stole tens of thousands of dollars from the organization.
Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office says that 55-year-old Christopher Adam Scott of Springfield pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of larceny over $250 and procurement fraud.
Scott served as the executive director of the outreach center, which provided counseling, benefits, and health information for local veterans, from when it opened to 2006 until it closed in February 2012.
That February, Springfield’s City Solicitor asked Coakley’s office to begin an investigation.
During the course of the investigation, it was found that the center had been awarded a $31,000 grant to remove architectural barriers at the building, which would, in turn, have allowed better handicapped access.
An investigation found that Scott “submitted falsified, materially-altered, and duplicate receipts to the City’s Community Development Office pursuant to that grant,” according to a statement from the Attorney General’s office.
A little over half of that money was actually used on the project and Scott reportedly used the rest – $14,000 – for his own personal benefit.
Coakley’s office also found that over the six years that Scott ran the center, he took $20,000 from the center’s bank accounts – through unauthorized loans, cash withdrawals, and checks written to cash – for his personal use.
“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. He exploited his position as director of the veteran’s outreach center to commit this crime,” Coakley says in a statement.
Judge Jeffrey Kinder has sentenced Scott to two-and-a-half years in a state House of Correction, of which Scott will serve 18 months.
The rest of the sentence will be suspended during Scott’s probation, which will be a period of three years. During that time, he must undergo a drug and evaluation an comply with certain conditions.
Scott has also been ordered to pay $28,000 in restitution to the city’s general fund.