After deliberating five days a Fairbanks, Alaska jury gave James C. Hayes, age 62, a valentines day gift he won’t forget – A GUILTY VERDICT – on 16 counts of Conspiracy, Theft from a Program Receiving Federal Funds, Money Laundering and Filing False Tax Returns.
Hayes and his wife, Murilda “Chris” Hayes were indicted on charges that they illegally diverted government funds awarded to a Fairbanks charitable organization created to aid disadvantaged Fairbanks youth. The funds were diverted for their personal use and to pay for the construction and furnishing of a Fairbanks church with which they were associated. The indictment further alleged that they committed numerous acts of money laundering to conceal the source of the diverted funds.
According to evidence presented in court, Chris Hayes was the executive director of Love Social Services Center (LSSC), a charitable organization, set up to provide social and educational services to low income and disadvantaged youth in the Fairbanks community. Jim Hayes, her husband and the pastor of Lily of the Valley Church of God in Christ (LOVCOGIC), was also a board member of LSSC. Between 2001 and 2005, LSSC received over 2.7 million dollars in government grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Programs. LSSC used the original grant money to purchase the old LOVCOGIC church building. LOVCOGIC then built a new and larger church across the street from its old location.
When the cost of construction for LOVCOGIC’s new church exceeded its sources of funding, Chris Hayes and Jim Hayes illegally diverted LSSC government grant funds to pay construction bills and provide furnishings and operating expenses for the new church. The Hayes used the government funds to pay for personal bills and expenditures such as a plasma t.v. for their home, a family wedding reception, credit card bills and old debts, and other personal items. Chris Hayes concealed the source of the above payments by causing the charity to write checks to cash that she then converted to money orders and cashier’s checks to make the illegal payments.
The law provides the maximum penalty for each count of misapplication of government funds is ten years and a $250,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for the each of the money laundering charges is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of either $500,000 or twice the amount of the laundered funds. The maximum penalty for conspiracy is five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both and the maximum penalty for filing a false tax return is three years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
It says in the Bible – You reap what you sow. Now you would think that a church pastor would know that! But, speaking from experience, it seems that even those of us who are sane and competent, sometimes lose our minds when it comes to fraud. Three things need to exist for true fraud to take place – need, opportunity and rationalization. Those elements create the perfect storm. But with every storm there is destruction that follows. It seems here that Jim Hayes is just now facing the destruction of his actions.
Every choice has a consequence and as a business ethics speaker, (www.chuckgallagher.com) I speak nationally on the topics of ethics, choices and consequence. In fact, I share the truth about consequences. If you would like to know more or have a comment on this story – I would welcome your input.
Business ethics and white collar crime speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…