Local Non-Profit Businessman Charged in Alleged Fraud Scheme
HOUSTON—Jesse Dunn, 56, of Houston, is set to appear in federal court following the return of an eight-count indictment alleging a fraud scheme in connection with a major disaster, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
The indictment was returned Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015. Dunn surrendered to federal authorities this morning and is set to make his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge George Hanks at 10:00 a.m.
The eight-count indictment alleges one count of participating in a fraud scheme in connection with a major disaster, one count of making a false statement and six counts of false representations in connection with a major disaster.
Dunn was the president of Aldine Community Care Center Inc. (ACCC), a registered Texas non-profit corporation created on April 29, 2004, according to the indictment. He also served as the president or director of several other Texas non-profit corporations, such as Paraclete Church Ministries Inc.
According to the allegations, Dunn falsified numerous documents to the Small Business Administration (SBA) in order to receive disaster relief funds on behalf of ACCC from approximately September 2008 to December 2010.
Hurricane Ike made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast on Sept. 13, 2008, at which time former President George W. Bush declared the counties in and around Houston a major disaster area under section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Shortly thereafter, Dunn allegedly applied for a loan on two of his properties for disaster relief funds.
The indictment alleges Dunn submitted false invoices to the SBA which resulted in the disbursement of $1,300,800 that was to be used for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventory, supplies, machinery and equipment damaged during the declared disaster. However, Dunn allegedly used a significant portion of the proceeds for his own personal use.
He faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine for each of the false representations charges and the fraud scheme in connection with a major disaster. If convicted of the false statement charge, he will also face up to five years in prison and another $250,000 fine.
The investigation leading up to the arrest was conducted by the SBA and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Suzanne Elmilady and Andrew Leuchtmann are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.