NEW YORK (AP) – A former employee of a New York City district attorney’s office has admitted to embezzling over $440,000 from the agency and spending it on personal purchases.
William Nelson, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty on Monday to theft of government funds from the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office (RCDA).
Federal prosecutors say Nelson used the agency’s credit cards over an 11-year period for travel expenses, sporting events, memorabilia, comics, video games, survival gear and other merchandise.
The 44-year-old Nelson was hired as the office’s procurement director in 2005, when Daniel Donovan, now a member of Congress, served as district attorney. The thefts were discovered after Michael McMahon took over as Staten Island DA.
Among the items listed on the Grand Jury’s 2017 indictment that are alleged to have been purchased fraudulently are: Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo watches, a Ferragamo leather tote, men’s shoes, and Callaway golf clubs.
“This case is a textbook example of what can happen when power goes unchecked,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. “Not only did Nelson allegedly steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from the RCDA, but he shamefully exploited his official position to authorize the very transactions that made this possible. Instead of using taxpayer funds for their intended purpose, he allegedly used them for his own personal intentions. Our communities place a high level of trust in those who hold these positions, and that trust should never waver. We won’t allow schemers of any kind to put the public’s trust at risk.”
Nelson resigned in December 2016. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
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