Four more charged in fraud scheme against Catholic Charities

| November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Investigation of a scheme to fraudulently obtain at least $684,000 from funds for the homeless at Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis has resulted in charges against four more people.

Five people pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a Nov. 12 news release.

The nonprofit organization discovered financial discrepancies two years ago, reported them to the U.S. attorney and an investigation began, Catholic Charities officials have said.

The latest development includes a former program manager at Catholic Charities, Clarissa Lynn Combs, 48, of Brooklyn Park, being charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements. As part of the scheme, Combs allegedly recruited other employees, members of her family and friends to pose as fictitious homeless clients, federal officials said.

Three other people also were recently charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

“We are angered and frustrated to have been the victim of criminal acts where individuals who were entrusted with the responsibility of serving our most vulnerable neighbors conspired to defraud Catholic Charities,” Tim Marx, president and CEO of the nonprofit, said in a statement to supporters of the organization.

“We greatly appreciate the diligent attention law enforcement and criminal justice professionals have given this matter. It is important that the individuals involved in this criminal scheme be held accountable for their actions and seek to make amends as they move forward in life.”

Catholic Charities is proud of the robust response from its staff and board of directors, the steadfast commitment to providing permanent homes to those in need and the continued support of community partners, Marx said. “The trust and support of this community is central to advancing the mission of Catholic Charities and something we never take for granted,” he said. “We will continue to work hard to maintain that trust.”

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