George Moses, the former chairman of the Rochester Housing Authority, was found guilty of 28 of the 29 fraud-related charges he faced.
A jury returned the verdict Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Rochester after it deliberated for about 13 hours.
Moses was accused of crimes connected with nonprofits in which he had leadership roles, most particularly the neighborhood association NEAD, or North East Area Development.
Prosecutors claimed that Moses used money from NEAD, paying for cruises, New York Knicks tickets, trips to Canada to visit a girlfriend, and a bevy of other expenses. Moses' defense attorneys contended that there were legitimate business reasons for the expenses, and that the NEAD board of directors did not block him from the spending.
Moses was taken into custody after the verdict was read. He'll be held in detention pending a bail hearing at 10 a.m. Friday in front of U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford . Defense attorneys Frederick Hafetz and Spencer Durland declined comment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Resnick expressed happiness with the verdict.
“We're very pleased the jury saw the case the way that we saw it and asked the grand jury to indict it,” Resnick said. Resnick the fraud-related evidence was overwhelming against Moses. Defense attorneys argued that nobody told Moses he couldn't do this and that some of the charges were legitimate.
“The jury saw it was an improper use of those funds,” Resnick said. “I think it's pretty straightforward and logical, more common sense that you can't use the funds for those expenses. It doesn't have to be written anywhere, it's just common sense that you can't use the grant money that was supposed to help the low-income people of his neighborhood.”
He continued, “Any dime or any penny or nickel that was used by Mr. Moses personally could've helped people in his neighborhood.”
During the trial, which began with testimony on Oct. 18 and jury selection the week before, several witnesses alleged that they'd been co-conspirators with Moses in alleged criminal deeds. One was former City Council Vice President Adam McFadden, who has pleaded guilty to fraud and tax crimes and is awaiting sentencing.
McFadden alleged that Moses, when chairman of the Rochester Housing Authority, helped steer a no-bid contract to McFadden. McFadden also alleged that Moses and he conspired to steal $8,000 from the nonprofit Quad A for Kids, which McFadden headed.
McFadden has admitted to thieving more than $130,000 from Quad A, an afterschool program for underprivileged children.
At the trial's start, Moses faced 32 criminal counts, including fraud and allegations of lying on tax returns. Three charges had to be dropped during the trial as a key prosecution witness, contractor Francis Cardinell, admitted that he's made up allegations that he had provided Moses with kickbacks for jobs.
Moses' defense team said that Cardinell's ability to hoodwink the FBI and prosecutors was typical of the criminal case against Moses — charges built on government overreach and manufactured evidence, the defense lawyers maintained
Contact Gary Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 585-258-2479. Follow him on Twitter at gcraig1.
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