Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Former non-profit head pleads not guilty to stealing $200K

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Albany/HV: Former non-profit head pleads not guilty to stealing $200K
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The man accused of embezzling money from an organization linked to the Peter Young Foundation is arraigned on charges. Our Megan Cruz has more from outside Rensselaer County Court.

TROY, N.Y. -- The former chief operating officer of a not-for-profit organization associated with the Peter Young Foundation was arraigned on Thursday.

Dennis Bassat, 53, pleaded not guilty in Rensselaer County Court to second-degree grand larceny, two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, and two counts of falsifying business records.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Bassat is accused of embezzling at least $200,000 from 820 River Street Incorporated. The facility was part of an umbrella organization of multiple not-for-profits known as Peter Young Housing Industry and Treatment.

The records state as part of the scheme, Bassat signed time sheets and other documents for fictitious people who never actually performed work for the organization.

Peter Young, who is an Albany priest, is known in the area for his work in drug rehabilitation programs and the needy.

Last week, the FBI and state attorney general's office raided the facilities in Albany, Menands, and Schenectady.

Young contacted the state about the theft two years ago. His attorney says financial documents were seized in last week's raid.

Bassat was sent to jail without bail.

The Peter Young organization released a statement saying in the two years since the theft was discovered, "Father Young’s organizations have reorganized the management teams, hired new program leaders and promoted talented and dedicated managers from among the 300 plus employees. We have brought in an experienced financial consultant to guide the programs to improved financial controls, and a comprehensive Corporate Compliance Program was implemented with training of all staff."

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