Denver: Former law enforcement officer accused of absconding with refugee charity funds

The refugee resettlement contractor has apparently, according to news reports, been shuttered for a couple of years, but now its former Board Chairman, a former deputy sheriff, has been indicted for taking money from the publicly-funded charity.

According to the Patch:

DENVER, CO — A fired former division head of the Denver Sheriff’s Office and a former president of the state Fraternal Order of Police was indicted by a grand jury in Denver earlier this month for allegedly pocking $50,000 from an Aurora refugee charity.

Franklin Gale, 55, of Denver was indicted by a Denver grand jury in connection with the alleged diversion for his own use of multiple checks paid to Ecumenical Refugee And Immigration Services, a non-active refugee resettlement agency that closed under a cloud in 2015 after another embezzlement scandal.

Gale is charged with money laundering, theft, attempting to influence a public servant forgery and vehicle theft. The indictment was handed down Oct. 3 and Gale turned himself in to the Longmont Police, a statement from the Denver District Attorney’s Office said.

[….]

Gale was serving as a non-compensated board member of ERIS in 2015 when the charity was closed down following a 2014 criminal investigation by the Aurora Police Department that resulted in embezzlement and theft charges against two staffers, Genevieve Marie Cruz and Adam Cole Shryock.

 

Charity navigator CO refugees

See that Charity Navigator has given ERIS its High Concern Advisory rating.

 

According to the indictment, Gale was a friend of Cruz, who was brought onto the board initially as a consultant. He ended up the president of the board as the organization closed down.

ERIS had received public funds to assist with refugee resettlement through the CARES branch of the Colorado Department of Law Human Services. Those funds were revoked after Cruz and her colleague were charged.

In May of 2015, Gale was elected president of the board of directors and the organization closed its doors.

When Cruz and Shyrock pleaded guilty in 2016, they were ordered by the court to pay $50,000 in restitution to the agency, the indictment said.

According to the grand jury indictment, about a dozen checks were sent to the defunct agency in care of Frank Gale at his Denver home address.

The indictment alleges that between November 2015 and April 2017, Gale wrote $48,668 in checks to himself from the ERIS account and deposited them into an account he established for his minor son. Gale would then make bank account cash withdrawals, ATM withdrawals, and/or transfer the funds from his son’s account to other accounts under his control, thus laundering the money, the indictment alleges. The actions ultimately added up to the theft of $50,000, the DA’s office said in a statement.

Gale is also accused of forging the name and signature of the former board director on a motor vehicle title for a truck owned by ERIS and then getting a new motor vehicle title in his own name.

More here.

Gale is expected to appear in court on Monday, see here.

I was surprised to find that the website is still up for ERIS here.

And, I learned from that site that it was a subcontractor working for two of the nine federal refugee resettlement contractors:

Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services (ERIS) helps to resettle refugees and asylees who are legally in Colorado (by Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries), by providing them assistance with educational needs, family and social services, medical attention, employment, and cultural orientation.

There needs to be much more scrutiny than there is at the present time of non-profits benefiting from state and federal tax dollars.


Click here to read the full article on its original website.