Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Ex-Rochester Housing Authority chief accused of theft, money laundering


Add another criminal allegation to the growing mound of criminal allegations against former Rochester Housing Authority Chairman George Moses.

In an indictment handed up Thursday, Moses, in his previous role heading the North East Area Development neighborhood group, is accused of bilking the state Dormitory Authority out of $45,000.

Shirley Boone, who was an assistant to Moses at the neighborhood organization, earlier this summer pleaded guilty to the same alleged fraud and said she had conspired with another official at North East Area Development or NEAD.

Moses was not named in the Boone plea, but it is now clear he was the alleged co-conspirator.

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Thursday’s indictment also added a money laundering charge against Janis White, who previously served as executive secretary to the Rochester Housing Authority director and also as past board secretary for Rochester Housing Charities, an RHA subsidiary.

White was already facing criminal tax-related charges.

Federal prosecutors now allege that Moses and Boone falsified documents to secure a $45,000 reimbursement grant from the state Dormitory Authority for the NEAD office on Webster Avenue. In the documents, Boone claimed that roof repairs had been done by Freedom Community Enterprises, a for-profit NEAD subsidiary. 

Freedom Community does not do construction work and did no repairs for NEAD, according to the allegations.

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The money laundering charges against White relate to earlier allegations.

Federal authorities have alleged that White controlled a business called HJJ Property Development, through which she billed Rochester Housing Charities for work never performed. White is now accused of money laundering with those criminal allegations.

Prosecutors say they have proof of fraud involving many of Moses’ expenses related to NEAD and Freedom Community.

Authorities allege that Moses illicitly used money for cruises, spa services, a multilevel business operation, dental visits and New York Knicks tickets. His attorney, Frederick Hafetz, has said Moses is innocent of the charges and will prove his use of the money was legitimate. 

Moses has been accused of almost $174,000 in fraud, some involving alleged conspiracies with former City Councilman Adam McFadden and White, who has pleaded not guilty to earlier charges.

McFadden has pleaded guilty to fraud and filing of false tax returns. He and Boone could be witnesses at trial.

At a telephone conference Thursday, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Wolford set a March 22 trial for White. Moses is scheduled to be tried beginning May 3.

The two were originally scheduled to be tried together, but prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed earlier this month to a defense request for separate trials.



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