A Queens man working at the Home Depot on Hempstead Turnpike, in Elmont, was arrested on Nov. 7 for using the company’s donation-matching program and a religious charity organization to steal more than $111,000 for personal use, police said.
According to the Crimes Against Property Squad and District Attorney’s Office, Alfred Williams, 57, in 2009 began using Home Depot Foundation’s 1:1 Gift Matching Program to falsely report to the Foundation that more than 40 fellow employees had made donations to Faith Without Walls, a non-profit religious organization he started in 2004. According to detectives, the Foundation sent matching donations to FWW, which Williams deposited for his personal use. While Home Depot prohibits charities run by employees as qualifying for the Gift Matching Program, Williams had purposely not listed himself as a contact for the FWW.
Willams, a Home Depot employee since 1991, was first suspected of the scam in Dec. 2011, when a fellow employee sought to make a donation to a separate charity and was denied on the grounds that she had already donated the maximum allowable amount for the year. The employee, whom Williams had claimed made a donation to the FWW, made a complaint to Home Depot investigators, who initiated the investigation.
Home Depot investigators later discovered that there were pending donations in excess of $57,000 that had been registered by Williams but not yet processed and matched by the Foundation at the time of his arrest.
As a result of the scam, the Foundation terminated FWW’s participation in the program and outstanding payments that had been registered. It also placed stop payments and those pending processing.
“Williams is charged with stealing over a hundred thousand dollars using the good will of a charity foundation and in the name of a religious organization that he used to line his pockets,” DA Kathleen Rice said. “The victims of a crime like this are uncountable because it makes it hard for legitimate charities everywhere to raise much-needed funds for good purposes.”
Williams was arraigned later Nov. 7 on a sealed grand jury indictment. He’s charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree attempted grand larceny, two counts of first-degree identity theft and second-degree identity theft.
Bail was set at $100,000 cash or bond and Williams was ordered a bail sufficiency hearing. He is due back in court Nov. 15.
Williams faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison if convicted.