A former regional CEO of Goodwill is facing charges of stealing huge sums of money from the nonprofit.
Richard Alan Abrusci, 45, was arrested and charged with nine counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and three counts of monetary transactions with proceeds of specified unlawful activity, according to a news release Thursday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
The release said Abrusci siphoned off $1.4 million by funneling money to a fictitious subsidiary that he controlled.
“From 2016 through 2021, Abrusci fraudulently caused the non-profit organization and one of its subsidiaries to pay approximately $1.4 million to Resolution Arrangement Services (RAS),” the release said.
“RAS consisted of nothing more than a fictitious business name that Abrusci registered in 2008 and a bank account that he opened the same year,” it continued.
“Abrusci caused the fraudulent payments into the RAS bank account that he controlled by using various false documents, including invoices and purchase orders.”
According to court documents, Abrusci began his employment at a nonprofit operating a “chain of retail stores in California and Nevada” in 2014, becoming its chief operating officer in 2016 and its president and CEO in 2018.
“In one instance, Abrusci used a forged letter purporting to be from an attorney representing the non-profit organization to convince the organization’s CFO to pay RAS $55,000 under false pretenses related to a lawsuit,” the news release said.
“The payments to RAS were supposedly for information-technology services, helping to facilitate settlement of a lawsuit, and assisting the non-profit organization in running call centers for the State of California during the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.
“In fact, RAS provided none of the services for which it billed the non-profit organization and its subsidiary.”
According to KCRA, the organization informed law enforcement after internal audits found major discrepancies in their accounting numbers.
“Goodwill itself as an organization is based upon good will and this was a real breaking of the good will by this CEO,” Goodwill spokesman Sam Singer said in a statement.
“The allegations against him are serious,” he continued. “We urged the federal prosecutors to pursue him to the fullest extent of the law.”
During a court appearance on Thursday, Abrusci pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released. A status conference is scheduled for February.
If convicted of all the charges, he faces a maximum of 32 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.