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NEWS RELEASE:
Wednesday January 24,2007


CONTACT PERSON:
Tom Carson
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United States Attorney
District of Connecticut


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New Haven, Connecticut 06510
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Former New Haven Assistant Principal Admits Stealing Federal Funds, Failure to Pay Taxes

Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that that BEN A. HUNTER, of 276 Crescent Street, New Haven, Connecticut, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to one count of theft of federal funds and one count and subscribing to a false federal tax return.

According to documents filed with the Court and statements made in court, HUNTER, while employed by the New Haven Board of Education as an assistant principal at Hillhouse High Schools, was the director of an after-school and summer program known as the Connecticut Shoot-Out Basketball Camp. The program's avowed purpose was to provide athletic opportunities for New Haven's inner-city youth between the ages of seven and 14. The program was funded by federal Title I funds and was staffed by individuals who were paid with federal funds by the City of New Haven.

In pleading guilty, HUNTER acknowledged that he perpetrated a scheme to obtain federal funds by fraud. Specifically, HUNTER acknowledged creating fictitious time sheets for employees of the Connecticut Basketball Association or the Connecticut Shoot-Out Summer Basketball Camp, which he then gave to the Board of Education for the City of New Haven. The City of New Haven generated payroll checks, using federal Title I funds, based on the false and fictitious information provided. Payroll checks were then provided to HUNTER for distribution to the alleged payees. HUNTER took the checks, forged the endorsements of the alleged payees, cashed the checks and kept the cash proceeds for his own use. HUNTER acknowledged obtaining more than $34,000 as a result of his fraudulent scheme.

In order to avoid detection of his scheme to embezzle and obtain federal funds by fraud, HUNTER did not report income obtained through this scheme on his Individual Income Tax Return for the calendar years 1998 through 2002. HUNTER subscribed his returns under the penalties of perjury knowing that they failed to report income to him and that they were materially false. The total loss to the Government was $15,129.

"Federal law enforcement is committed to enforcing the proper use of federal funds by prosecuting individuals who steal them," U.S. Attorney O'Connor stated.

Judge Arterton scheduled sentencing in this matter for April 17, 2007, at which time HUNTER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 13 years and a fine up to $350,000.

U.S. Attorney O'Connor commended the investigation of this matter by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Department of Education, Office of the Inspector General and the New Haven Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by James I. Glasser, Counsel to the U.S. Attorney.


 
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Last Modified: 01/26/2007