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NEWS RELEASE:
Wednesday August 23, 2006

United States Attorney
District of Connecticut


Connecticut Financial Center
157 Church Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06510

CONTACT PERSON:
Tom Carson
Public Information Office
(203) 821-3722
(203) 996-1393 (cell)

Former New Haven ASSISTANT Principal Indicted for Theft of Federal Funds and Tax Offenses

Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven returned a 17-count Indictment yesterday, August 22, charging BEN A. HUNTER, age 59 (DOB 5/30/47), of 276 Crescent Street, New Haven, with theft of federal funds, subscribing to false tax returns, and aiding in the preparation of false tax returns.

The Indictment alleges that HUNTER, while employed by the New Haven Board of Education as an assistant principal at Hillhouse High School, 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 1 funds and was staffed by individuals who were paid with federal funds by the City of New Haven

The Indictment alleges that HUNTER submitted time sheets for fictitious employees. When payroll checks were generated for these fictitious employees, they were provided to HUNTER, who would forge endorsements and cash the checks for his own benefit. The Indictment further alleges that, in order to avoid detection of the scheme to embezzle federal funds by fraud, HUNTER did not report income obtained through the fraudulent scheme on his income tax returns for calendar years 1998 through 2002. Finally, the Indictment alleges that HUNTER caused fraudulent income tax returns to be filed for other persons in whose names he caused fraudulent payroll checks to be issued.

"This individual is alleged to have stolen thousands of dollars from a worthy, city-sponsored program funded with federal tax dollars, and then committed substantial tax fraud against the federal government in order to conceal his behavior," U.S. Attorney O'Connor stated.

If convicted, HUNTER faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the two theft of government funds counts, and a maximum term of imprisonment of three years and a fine of up to $100,000 on each of the 15 tax counts.

U.S. Attorney O'Connor stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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


 
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Last Modified: 08/24/2006