Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Finally, the Punishment Fits the Crime!

by Gary Snyder

As readers of Nonprofit Imperative have followed, former Virginia Secretary of Finance John W. Forbes II had admitted stealing $4 million in tobacco-region economic development money designated Literary Foundation of Virginia -- an organization Forbes established ostensibly to promote adult literacy. In the following years less than $1 million was used for literacy and the rest for personal uses such as an expensive home and $1 million in salaries for himself and his then-wife, Tina. He transferred the money from the foundation to two shell companies he created before spending it. Facing a federal subpoena for records earlier this year, he manufactured minutes from meetings held by the board of directors of the Literary Foundation to make himself look less culpable, and he asked Tina, by now his ex-wife, to hide documents. In an atypical ruling in which the Judge fit the sentence with the crime, he put Forbes in prison for 10 years. Forbes must make $4 million in restitution to the commission. In all too many instances, judges give convicted criminals a slap on the wrist and merely ask for restitution (which is seldom paid). In only 50% of the restitution cases is one penny paid.

From Nonprofit Imperative, a twice monthly e-newsletter. To subscribe, email gary.r.snyder@gmail.com
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