White Plains Man Gets Prison Term for Using Not-For-Profit to Line Pockets

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A 67-year-old White Plains resident will spend five months in jail after being convicted of obstruction of justice, mail fraud and making false statements to the government.

David Griffiths, the executive director of the Neighborhood Enhancement for Training Services (NETS), a not for profit in the Bronx, was convicted after a four-week trial in Manhattan where he was accused of lying to cover up that he had taxpayer dollars from the not for profit. The jury took only two hours to convict, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara issued at the time.

Griffiths began serving as the Executive Director of NETS in November 2003.

NETS received almost all of its funding from government grants. In 2008, the FBI began investigating the not-for-profit and how it had used the government funds.

In June 2009, Griffiths made materially false statements and representations in documents he provided to the FBI in response to a grand jury subpoena, the prosecution argued. The documents were purported minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors of NETS that related to, among other things, alleged authorizations he had obtained from the board to take certain payments from the not-for-profit. Griffiths gave the minutes to the FBI in an attempt to mislead them and obstruct their investigation of NETS.

According to the FBI, Griffiths attempted to take almost $200,000 from NETS with no authorization in 2010. Griffiths, on behalf of NETS, attempted to obtain additional grant money from a New York State agency under false pretenses.

Griffiths misrepresented to the agency that the not-for-profit and its officers and directors had not been the subject of a criminal investigation, a civil investigation, and/or unsatisfied tax liens and judgments for the past five years, the prosecution stated. At the time Griffiths made these misrepresentations, he knew that both he and the not-for-profit were under investigation by the FBI as well as by the State Attorney General’s Office, and that NETS had unsatisfied tax liens and judgments against it.

In addition to the prison term, Griffiths was sentenced to two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and a mandatory special assessment of $300.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Public Corruption Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Carrie H. Cohen and Justin Anderson are in charge of the prosecution.

San Barron contributed reporting to this story.

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