June 26, 2014

Former Board Member of National Charity Charged in $4 Million Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme

PORTLAND, OR—Amanda Marshall, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon, today announced that William R. Peters, 63, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, a former member of the Board of Directors of National Relief Charities (NRC), has been charged with conspiring to defraud NRC of $4 million and conspiring to commit money laundering violations with the proceeds of the fraud scheme. Brian J. Brown, a former president of NRC, was charged with the same federal crimes in October 2013. Brown’s case is pending in federal court in Portland, Oregon.

The indictment alleges that in late 2005, when Brown stepped down as the president of NRC, a national charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for Native Americans, he established a nonprofit company called Charity One, Inc., dba American Indian Education Endowment Fund. Peters and Brown then allegedly induced NRC to fund Charity One, Inc. with $4 million from 2006 through 2009. Brown allegedly represented these funds would be used to fund educational scholarships for Native Americans. Peters allegedly used his position as a member of the Board of Directors of NRC to cause NRC to execute endowment agreements with Charity One, Inc. in which NRC gave Charity One, Inc. $1 million a year for four years. Peters and Brown allegedly used the entire $4 million for their personal benefit.

“Anyone who defrauds a charity for their personal gain should expect to be caught and prosecuted. This conduct harms the charity, its donors, and, most importantly, the intended recipients of the fraudulently diverted funds,” said U.S. Attorney Marshall.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth D. Uram is handling the prosecution of the case.