Two Leaders of Non-Profit Sentenced for Failing to Report Misuse of $392,000 in Grant Money
Helped Conceal Activities of Former Council Member Harry L. Thomas, Jr
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 21, 2013|
WASHINGTON—Marshall D. Banks and James Garvin, who helped lead the Langston in the 21st Century Foundation, a non-profit organization that operated youth programs in the District of Columbia, were sentenced today to three years of supervised probation, 80 hours of community service, and ordered to pay full restitution for failing to report and concealing the misappropriation of $392,000 in government grants.
The sentences, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, were announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr.; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Banks and Garvin pled guilty in January 2012 to one count each of misprision of a felony (theft or bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds). They were among five people to plead guilty to charges in an ongoing investigation into activities involving former District of Columbia Council Member Harry L. Thomas, Jr. Thomas pled guilty last year to charges stemming from a scheme in which he used more than $350,000 in taxpayers’ money that was earmarked for the arts, youth recreation, and summer programs for his own personal benefit.
Thomas resigned as a condition of his plea agreement and is now serving a 38-month prison sentence. The Honorable John D. Bates sentenced Banks and Garvin this morning.
The others who have pled guilty include Millicent D. West, the former director and chief executive officer of another non-profit organization that promotes youth opportunities, and Danita C. Doleman, the president of Youth Technology Institute. West and Doleman pled guilty to charges in connection with grant money that was used to pay for an inaugural ball. They are awaiting sentencing.
Banks, 72, and Garvin, 56, had leadership positions with the Langston in the 21st Century Foundation (Langston 21), a non-profit. Banks, of Washington, D.C., was the founder, and Garvin, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was a board member. Garvin also is the general manager of the Langston Golf Course in Northeast Washington, a site of some of the non-profit’s activities.
Langston 21 operated youth activities designed to foster educational advancement, including programs at Langston Golf Course, which is located in Ward 5 of the District of Columbia. Garvin worked with Banks, who also was director of the organization.
According to the government’s evidence, Thomas, who represented Ward 5, informed Garvin in 2007 that he wanted to obtain grant funds to conduct activities in the ward. Thomas informed Garvin that Thomas needed a non-profit to act as the recipient of the money. Thomas also stated that a portion of the funds could be dedicated to youth programs at Langston Golf Course.
At Thomas’s request, Garvin asked Banks whether Langston 21 would serve as the non-profit needed by Thomas to receive the grant funds and forward money to Thomas. Banks agreed. Langston 21 then executed a grant agreement for $392,000 with a non-profit public-private partnership that got funding from the District government.
Thomas told Garvin that Team Thomas, an organization he controlled, would be a suitable organization to carry out the grant, which was for youth programs. However, neither Thomas nor Team Thomas was mentioned in the agreement with the public-private partnership.
In January, May, October, and December 2008, the public-private partnership issued quarterly grant payments to Langston 21 to fund youth sports activities. At or about the time of each check, Thomas directed Banks or Garvin to have Langston 21 issue checks to either Team Thomas or another organization, HLT Development, also controlled by Thomas.
Langston 21 received $392,000 in grant funds from the public-private partnership. From that grant money, Banks and Garvin issued checks to Team Thomas and HLT totaling $306,000.
In January 2008, a member of Thomas’s staff, acting on the councilmember’s behalf, e-mailed budget paperwork for the grant to Garvin and an employee of the public-private partnership, as part of the process for the approval of funds to Langston 21. The budget paperwork contained false representations. Based on his review of this paperwork, and from other interactions with Thomas, Garvin determined in or about January 2008 that the grant agreement proposed by Thomas was not legitimate and that Thomas intended to misappropriate for his personal benefit at least some of the money that would be passed through Langston 21.
At the time of the other payments, in May, October, and December 2008, Garvin did not believe that youth sporting events had been conducted to justify the distribution of the grant funds. Yet he, along with Banks, participated in the grant process and thereby concealed Thomas’s misappropriation of funds.
In addition, Banks knew that no D.C. youth were brought to the Langston golf course by Thomas to participate in grant-related activities. Sometime before October 2008, Banks determined that Thomas was not using the grant funds for their designated purposes. Yet he continued to deposit grant funds into Langton 21’s bank account and then write checks to Team Thomas and HLT with the term “youth sports” or “learning center” on the memo lines.
Like Banks, Garvin did not report the improprieties to authorities. By continuing to obtain and receive grant payments, redistribute funds to Team Thomas and HLT, and otherwise participate in the scheme, Garvin and Banks helped to conceal Thomas’s actions.
In announcing the sentences, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director Parlave, and Special Agent in Charge Kelly commended the work of those who investigated the case for the FBI and IRS-CI. They also expressed appreciation to former Assistant U.S. Attorneys Courtney G. Saleski and Bridget M. Fitzpatrick, who earlier worked on the case, as well as Criminal Investigators Matthew Kutz, Mark Crawford, and Melissa Matthews; Paralegal Specialists Tasha Harris, Diane Hayes, Shanna Hays, Lenissa Edloe, and Monica Johnson; and Legal Assistant Krishawn Graham, all of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Finally, they acknowledged the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan W. Haray, James E. Smith, Ellen Chubin Epstein; and Matthew Graves of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia; and Trial Attorney Peter Mason of the Public Integrity Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, who prosecuted the case.