May 1, 2014
Queens Man Ordered to Pay Full Restitution in Home Depot Charity Scam
Williams, 57, sentenced today for stealing thousands through employer’s donation-matching program
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a Queens man working at the Elmont Home Depot was sentenced today for using his employer’s donation-matching program to steal thousands meant for charity for his own personal gain.
Alfred Williams, 57, of Queens Village, was sentenced today to five years probation by Nassau County Court Judge Alan Honorof. Williams was also ordered to pay full restitution of $17,500 – the amount he withdrew from a checking account from charity-matching funds deposited for his personal use. Williams pleaded guilty to Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony) in February.
“Employee matching programs are an important source of funding for nonprofits, and abuse of those programs puts the vital services provided by legitimate charities and religious organizations at risk,” DA Rice said. “With this sentence, this defendant will be held accountable for diverting money that should have gone to help fund organizations looking to improve the lives of others.”
DA Rice said Williams had been a Home Depot employee since 1991 and worked at the Home Depot store at 600 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont since 2007. He is the Pastor and President of a small religious organization named “Faith Without Walls International Ministries” (FWW), which he registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 2004. FWW had conducted public services in Queens at one time and operated administratively out of Williams’ home in Queens Village, where FWW had a mailing address.
Between early 2009 and 2012, Williams used the Home Depot Foundation’s 1:1 Gift Matching Program to deposit in excess of $111,000 by falsely reporting to the Foundation that over 40 fellow employees had given donations to Faith Without Walls. The Foundation, upon receiving false information from FWW that the donations had been received, sent matching donations to FWW, which Williams deposited for his personal use. The Foundation prohibits charities run by employees from receiving matching funds, but Williams purposely did not list himself as a contact for FWW.
A scam was first suspected in December 2011, when a Home Depot employee sought to make a donation to a separate charitable organization using the Home Depot Charitable Gift Matching Program. The employee was denied, being told that she had already donated the maximum amount allowable for that year. The employee made a complaint to The Home Depot, which initiated an investigation.
As part of its investigation, The Home Depot also discovered that there were still pending donations in excess of $57,000 that had been registered by Williams but had not yet been processed and matched by the Home Depot Foundation.
As a result of that investigation, the Home Depot Foundation terminated Faith Without Wall’s participation in the Gift Matching Program, terminated any outstanding donations which had been registered, placed stop payments on any outstanding payments to FWW, and forwarded the case to DA Rice and the Nassau County Police Department.
Investigators reclaimed all but $17,500 of the money Williams stole in the scam.
Williams was arrested in November 2013 as a result of an investigation by the Nassau County Police Department’s Crimes Against Property Squad and DA Rice’s office.
Assistant District Attorney Edward Bradley of DA Rice’s Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau is prosecuting the case. Williams is represented by Marvin Hirsch, Esq.