Founder of DC Youth Program Pleads Guilty to Misappropriating Funds

January 13, 2012 9:08 pmBy: 

Marshall D. Banks, the founder of a non-profit organization that operated youth programs in the District of Columbia, pled guilty today to a felony charge stemming from his failure to report and effort to conceal the misappropriation of $392,000 in government grants.

Banks, 71, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a criminal Information charging him with one count of misprision of a felony (theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds). As part of the plea agreement, Banks agreed to cooperate in any criminal investigation or prosecution.

Today’s plea comes one week after the guilty plea of former District of Columbia Council member Harry L. Thomas, Jr., on charges that also involve the grant money.

A sentencing date has not yet been set. The Honorable John D. Bates scheduled a status hearing for May 25, 2012. The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison, as well as a possible fine and an order to make restitution. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the parties have agreed that the applicable range would be a maximum of six months of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000. Also, as part of the plea agreement, Banks agreed to be jointly and severally liable with others responsible for the crimes for paying $392,000 in restitution to victims of his conduct.

“Public corruption is allowed to flourish when ordinary citizens remain silent in the face of obvious wrongdoing,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. “While Harry Thomas lined his pockets with money meant to benefit children, he was unable to do so alone. Marshall Banks stood by while Thomas stole the money and instead of reporting it, actively helped to conceal the fact that grant funds were being funneled back to Thomas. Today’s guilty plea underscores the importance of standing up and speaking out against public officials who are on the take.”

Langston 21

According to a statement of offense signed by the government as well as the defendant, Banks was the founder and director of the Langston in the 21st Century Foundation (Langston 21), a non-profit organization that operated youth activities designed to foster educational advancement, including programs at Langston Golf Course in the District of Columbia.

Through his responsibilities at Langston 21, he worked with James Garvin, a board member for Langston 21 and the general manager of the golf course. The statement of offense says that Thomas, the District of Columbia Council member who represented Ward 5, informed Garvin in 2007 that he wanted to obtain grant funds to conduct activities in the ward. Thomas informed Garvin that Thomas needed a non-profit organization to act as the recipient of the money. Thomas also stated that a portion of the funds could be dedicated to youth programs at Langston Golf Course.

At Thomas’s request, Garvin asked Banks whether Langston 21 would serve as the nonprofit needed by Thomas to receive the grant funds and forward money to Thomas. Banks agreed. Langton 21 then executed a grant agreement for $392,000 with a non-profit publicprivate partnership that got funding from the District government.

Thomas told Garvin that Team Thomas, an organization he controlled, would be a suitable organization to carry out the grant. However, neither Thomas or Team Thomas were mentioned in the agreement with the public-private partnership.

In January, May, October and December of 2008, the public-private partnership issued quarterly grant payments to Langston 21. At or about the time of each check, Thomas directed Garvin or Banks to have Langston 21 issue checks to either Team Thomas or another organization, HLT Development, that Thomas also controlled.

Langston 21 received $392,000 in grant funds from the public-private partnership. From that grant money, Garvin and Banks issued checks to Team Thomas and HLT totaling $306,000.

Banks knew that the documentation used for the grants contained false representations. In addition, Banks knew that no D.C. youth were brought to the Langston golf course by Thomas to participate in grant-related activities. Sometime before October 2008, Banks determined that Thomas was not using the grant funds for their designated purposes. Yet he continued to deposit grant funds into Langton 21’s bank account and then write checks to Team Thomas and HLT with the term “youth sports” or “learning center” on the memo lines. Banks did not report the improprieties to authorities, even though he knew Thomas was using money for his personal benefit, and he helped Thomas conceal his actions.

Thomas, 51, pled guilty on January 6, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to a criminal Information charging him with one count of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and one count of filing a false tax return. As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to submit his resignation from the District of Columbia Council. Thomas is to be sentenced by Judge Bates on May 3, 2012. The investigation is continuing.

Comments

More Top Stories

  • Military Police & Crime Top Stories Virginia, feds settle with Freedom Stores, accused of illegal debt collection practices

    Virginia, feds settle with Freedom Stores, accused of illegal debt collection practices

    Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the North Carolina took action today to protect military servicemembers from illegal debt collection practices. The CFPB alleges that Freedom Stores, Inc., Freedom Acceptance Corporation, and Military Credit Services LLC used illegal tactics to collect debts, including filing illegal lawsuits, debiting consumers’ accounts without authorization, and contacting servicemembers’ commanding officers. The CFPB and the states filed a consent order in federal court to require the three companies and […]

    Read more →
  • Politics Top Stories McAuliffe announces legislation to curb gun violence in Virginia

    McAuliffe announces legislation to curb gun violence in Virginia

    Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at curbing gun violence in Virginia, calling them “common-sense violence prevention efforts.” The proposals include prohibiting the possession of firearms for persons subject to protective orders and those who have committed certain misdemeanor offenses, such as stalking, sexual battery, and domestic violence, as well as revoking concealed handgun permits for parents delinquent on child support payments and closing the gun show loophole. “As Governor, there is no greater responsibility […]

    Read more →
  • Chantilly Clifton Top Stories Transportation Stringfellow Road opens to four lanes Monday

    Stringfellow Road opens to four lanes Monday

    On Monday, Dec. 15, drivers will enjoy two lanes in each direction from Fair Lakes Boulevard to Route 50 on the newly widened two-mile section of Stringfellow Road, a milestone for the project that is six months ahead of schedule. On Friday, Dec. 12, crews will shift northbound traffic from the existing lane to the two newly constructed lanes. Drivers will continue to have one lane southbound while crews finish work to open both lanes by Monday afternoon. All turn […]

    Read more →
  • Alexandria Prince William Springfield Top Stories Transportation Woodbridge 95 Express Lanes about to open; are you ready?

    95 Express Lanes about to open; are you ready?

    It’s a good thing we have lots of smart people in the Washington area, because you have to be pretty good at mind-numbing details to navigate the toll and HOV features of our highways. Let’s see — there’s the Dulles Toll Road, which is free if you’re actually going to the airport but pricey if you’re not. Then there’s the Greenway to Loudoun, which is expensive for everybody and, like Dulles, makes no allowance for HOV, a/k/a car-pooling or ride-sharing. […]

    Read more →
  • County Government Politics Top Stories As tax deadline nears, Fairfax supervisors consider giving themselves raises

    As tax deadline nears, Fairfax supervisors consider giving themselves raises

    Fairfax County residents have just finished paying their 2014 car taxes, which can easily exceed $1,000 for a newer car, whether hybrid or gas guzzler, and now they are facing the Dec. 5 deadline for the second installment of their property taxes, which increase like clockwork each year. The county’s economy is tepid, with sequestration and military cutbacks beginning to bite. Most major highway expansion in the area consists of adding tolls to roads that were previously free. In other […]

    Read more →
  • Education Politics Top Stories Rep. Moran introduces bill to reform NCAA

    Rep. Moran introduces bill to reform NCAA

    A bill introduced by retiring Congressman Jim Moran would establish a blue ribbon commission to study the intercollegiate athletic system and offer recommendations for reform. “Recent scandals involving intercollegiate athletics programs at a number of the nation’s most prestigious institutions reveal the absence of policy and practice that would ensure a level of academic integrity, athlete welfare, and financial soundness appropriate for non-profit institutions of higher education,” said Moran, a former college athlete and ranking member of the Interior Appropriations […]

    Read more →
  • Education Langley Oakton Top Stories Langley, Oakton students featured in “Sleepless in America”

    Langley, Oakton students featured in “Sleepless in America”

    Students from Langley High School and Oakton High School, Superintendent Karen K. Garza, and Fairfax County School Board member Sandy Evans will be featured in “Sleepless in America,” a television show on sleep deprivation produced by the National Geographic Channel, premiering Sunday, November 30, at 8 p.m. The show focuses on the sleep-loss epidemic in the U.S. and explores the health consequences of sleeping too little.  Sleep researchers from the University of Chicago and Oregon Health and Science University are […]

    Read more →
  • Military Top Stories Warner, Kane back toughening Military Lending Act

    Warner, Kane back toughening Military Lending Act

    U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with 40 of their Senate colleagues, today sent a letter in support of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) plan to update the Military Lending Act (MLA) and close existing loopholes to better protect servicemembers and their families from abusive financial practices.  The letter, sent to U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, expresses strong support for the proposed new rule to help prevent lenders from charging excessive fees and taking advantage of military […]

    Read more →