Brian Sharp, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle Published 10:21 a.m. ET Oct. 9, 2019 | Updated 4:45 p.m. ET Oct. 9, 2019
Adam McFadden pleads guilty to felony wire fraud for submitting more that $131,000 in phony invoices. Jamie Germano, @jgermano1
Former City Councilman Adam McFadden pleaded guilty Wednesday to bilking Quad A For Kids for more than $131,000 while serving as the nonprofit’s executive director.
McFadden pleaded to felony wire fraud, admitting he submitted dozens of phony invoices from 2012 through 2018 for everything from computer services and office supplies to yoga mats and sports equipment that were never delivered.
The nonprofit provides after-school programs to 500 area children in five city schools. McFadden led the organization for most of the past 15 years. A special audit of its operations focused on McFadden’s tenure uncovered the wrongdoing.
“I did something wrong, and I’m owning up to the fact I did something wrong,” McFadden said outside the federal courthouse, acknowledging the embarrassment caused to himself, his family and colleagues. “I live in a community that has faced challenges and tough times, and I’m hoping that community will forgive me and that folks that I worked with will forgive me, and the people I let down will forgive me.”
As part of a plea agreement, federal sentencing guidelines recommend a prison term of between 15 and 21 months, plus fines, restitution and supervised probation.
McFadden, 48, already is awaiting sentencing on federal charges of wire fraud and filing a false tax return to which he pleaded guilty in April.
His earlier plea involved acts that garnered him more than $134,000, through lies and exaggerations about his work for a housing nonprofit and three years of personal tax returns on which he admittedly claimed illegitimate business deductions.
McFadden was removed from his South District City Council seat after entering his April plea, and previously had been let go as executive director for Quad A.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney James Kennedy said McFadden “diverted funds away from those in need in our community and into his own pocket. That he would do so while serving as a Rochester City Councilman is particularly egregious, as such behavior is more consistent with that of a public parasite than it is of a public servant.”
Quad A is a program of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, and as such the foundation received and paid the invoices McFadden submitted. In a statement, Jennifer Leonard, the foundation’s president and CEO, spoke of being “deeply disappointed and saddened by Adam McFadden’s abuse of our trust.”
“The fact that hundreds of children might have lost the opportunity to be in safe and supportive after-school programs because of the self-serving acts of one individual was a real possibility for a while,” she said.
Not knowing when the restitution will be paid, the organization is pursing insurance claims.
Included in the phony invoices were two falsified training sessions ($4,000 each) involving North East Area Development Rochester. NEAD was led at the time by George Moses, who was charged with McFadden for alleged scams at the Rochester Housing Authority and Rochester Housing Charities. The organization allegedly received a kickback of at least $1,000.
There also were admitted arrangements with three unnamed entities to provide false invoices for grant writing and sports and fitness-related services that was never done.
“The entities were part of the scheme … agreeing to act as a pass through,” U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford said during McFadden’s plea hearing.
Asked after the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Resnick declined to identity the unnamed entities or to comment on whether additional charges are possible. In an earlier court hearing for Moses, however, he said authorities were “contemplating” additional charges on Moses.
McFadden is scheduled to be sentenced in February on both matters.
McFadden removed:McFadden faces removal from office, questions timing
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