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Thursday, July 31st 2008, 11:20 PM
A top city child care official pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars meant for needy kids.
Lethem Duncan, 62, the former deputy director of the payment services division of the Administration for Children's Services, faces up to 75 years in prison when he is sentenced in January for embezzlement, money laundering and mail fraud.
Duncan has been cooperating with a city Department of Investigation probe into the theft of adoption subsidies meant for parents who take on hard-to-place foster kids.
He is the first of five suspects charged in the scheme two weeks ago to admit guilt.
"We used the mail to transmit some documents relating to adoption subsidies," Duncan told Manhattan Federal Judge John Koeltl.
Duncan admitted steering a $375,000 payment to Philbert Gorrick, an independent contractor with Concord Family Services, a Brooklyn not-for-profit outfit, in return for $110,000 in kickbacks in 2005. Gorrick spent the money on an $84,000 BMW, a Range Rover and rent for a high-priced apartment in a doorman building.
Duncan, who told the court he has glaucoma and prostate cancer, also admitted plotting with the others to steer sham adoption subsidies to cohorts.
Gorrick and co-defendant Stay Thompson, Concord's fiscal director, were arrested July 15 in a sting set up with Duncan's help. The two were nabbed after Duncan handed over a $711,000 check that was supposed to be for computer supplies.
Also arrested in the scheme was Nigel Osarenkhoe, ACS' adoptions supervisor. From 2004 to last year, Osarenkhoe steered $79,000 in adoption subsidies for fictitious children to Thompson, prosecutors say. The fifth suspect is ACS clerk Darly Estinval, accused of stealing 22 checks and passing them to co-conspirators, who created 66 counterfeit checks valued at $2.7 million.
ACS big pleads guilty to ripping off kids
Ex-Official Pleads Guilty in Fraud at Welfare Agency - NYTimes.com
My reply ..
What really needs to happen now is.. The Federal Funding given to the States (Your tax dollars that are the issue here)being used for "protecting" children.. needs a deeper realistic look. Then they will find out that those federal dollars given to the States (via Title IV D and E) that these corrupt players are going to jail for .. is in fact the reason so many NON ABUSED children are devoured into the system.. and their innocent parents are labeled abusive! Can't you see the corruption that is not only possible but is coming to the surface? Give them money to "protect children" they are going to manufacture children or as in this story .. create fictitious children! Meanwhile.. children that are truly being abused are left to die.. someone explain that to me.. I'm just NOT getting it..