Former United Way of Mass. Bay VP Found Guilty in $6.7M Theft
December 13, 2019 The former vice president of information technology at the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley in Boston was found guilty today in federal court in Concord, New Hampshire, on 44 charges in connection with the theft of $6.7 million from the organization while working there, one of the largest thefts, if not the largest, from a Massachusetts nonprofit in recent history.
U.S. District Court Joseph Laplante, after a 10-day bench trial, found Imran Alrai, 45, of Windham, New Hampshire, guilty of 18 counts of wire fraud, 14 counts of money laundering, and 12 counts of transporting stolen funds, according to U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray.
The court acquitted Alrai on six counts of money laundering, one count of aggravated identity theft, and two counts of failing to file Foreign Bank Account Reports with the IRS. The court also ordered forfeiture in an amount to be determined. The court previously ordered that Alrai repatriate funds he wired to Pakistan.
Alrai, who had worked at the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley
(UWMB) from 2012 until he was fired in June 2018, will be detained pending sentencing, which is scheduled for March 21, Murray said.
According to the trial evidence, between 2012 and June 2018, Alrai obtained approximately $6.7 million in payments for IT services supposedly provided to UWMB by an independent outside contractor, Digitalnet Technology Solutions, Inc. Evidence at trial, according to Murray, showed that Alrai misrepresented material facts about Digitalnet and fraudulently concealed that he owned and controlled Digitalnet.
"In early 2013, Alrai rigged the bidding process for a major contract to provide managed IT services at the United Way so that Digitalnet was chosen. Alrai then gave fake references and false information about Digitalnet to United Way," according to a statement issued by Murray.
Then, for the next five years, while serving as UWMB's vice president for IT services, Alrai steered additional IT work to Digitalnet, while concealing from his colleagues that he had anything to do with Digitalnet. becoming the organization's second-largest outside vendor, receiving more than $1 million annually, Murray said.
According to expert testimony at the trial, UWMB lost at least $3.1 million as a result of Alrais crimes due to Digitalnets excessive billing, duplicate billing, and billing for services not delivered, Murray alleged.
Those who engage in fraud should understand that their schemes will be detected and that they will be prosecuted for their illegal actions, said Murray. The defendant took advantage of trust that was placed in him in order to steal millions of dollars from a charitable organization. The defendant enriched himself at the expense of the United Way and its supporters, diverting money intended for the benefit of the less fortunate. Such deceitful conduct cannot be tolerated. This conviction is one step in our effort to secure justice for the victims of this scheme.
When news of charges against Alrai's surfaced last February, UWMB issued a statement noting that "Mr. Alrai never disclosed his relationship with DigitalNet to us, and in fact, he made numerous misrepresentations and took numerous actions to conceal the true nature of the relationship. The undisclosed relationship created a conflict of interest, and Mr. Alrai's actions violated UWMB's policies."
UWMB said that following discovery of the missing funds it engaged outside experts, including legal counsel, forensic accounting experts, and data security experts, to evaluate the impact of the theft and how it was carried out and "determined that there was no data security breach of any kind, including donor records and information."
UWMB also said it intended "to aggressively pursue recovery of damages," which it reaffirmed today.