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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Officials Allegedly Bought Massages with Funds from Agency that Helped the Poor Spend Wisely

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 3:35 PM

click to enlarge tons_of_money_thumb_450x337.jpg

Two former officials at the now-defunct Associated Community Action Program (ACAP) -- an Alameda County agency tasked with helping the poor manage their money wisely -- have been charged with illicitly using the agency's money to pay for construction work on a personal home, buy massages, and purchase a $334 steak dinner in New York City, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's office.

District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announced today that Nanette Dillard and her husband, Paul Daniels, have been charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal grant money and using it for improper purposes. Dillard, the executive director of ACAP, was charged with four felony counts, while Daniels, the organization's grants manager, was charged with three felony counts. The agency went belly-up because of financial difficulties last year, and both Dillard and Daniels lost their jobs in February 2011.

According to court documents, ACAP was approved for a federal "Assets for Independence" grant that helps low-income county residents save money for such purposes as education or entrepreneurship. The terms of the grant dictate that the government will donate matching funds for money saved by those residents with ACAP's help.

However, ACAP withdrew close to $427,000 in federal money when it had only $47,000 in matching funds, according to a declaration by a DA's office investigator. The money was used to help make payroll for the financially troubled agency, rather than help its clients.

Additionally, Dillard used laborers from an ACAP-sponsored back-to-work construction program to perform work on her house and that of her brother at a discount rate, the DA's office alleges. Dillard also used ACAP money to pay for "business expenses," such as massages for herself and her deputy executive director, and the aforementioned steak dinner, according to the charges.

If the allegations are true, it seems ACAP could have used some advice from its clients on how to manage its finances.

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Peter Jamison


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