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Jewish charity’s CFO fired amid claims of financial misdeeds

The nonprofit Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston has fired its chief financial officer for alleged financial improprieties and has hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation.

In a Aug. 18 letter to donors, the nearly century-old Newton charity didn’t name the dismissed executive, but a spokeswoman confirmed he is Francis X. Rivers, who had worked for the organization for two years.

The youth-mentoring group has not said how much money might be missing.

“We want to assure you that the agency remains on firm financial footing and this situation, while very troubling, does not impact our immediate ability to meet our operational or community obligations or delivery of services,’’ chief executive Harvey Lowell said in the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by the Globe.


When Rivers was hired, a criminal background check by the organization failed to turn up a prior conviction he had in New York 15 years ago, under a different name, according to the spokeswoman, Helene Solomon. The group learned of Rivers’s prior record through an anonymous tip, she said.

Based on what the organization has been able to determine so far, Lowell said, the issues involve how funds were recorded in operating accounts and in the agency’s endowment account. There are also questions about “certain unauthorized expenditures the former CFO made for his personal benefit.”

Reached by phone Monday, Rivers acknowledged that he had recently left Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters but declined to comment further.

He formerly had the last name Beaudet and pleaded guilty in New York in 2001 to grand larceny charges for stealing $334,910 from the Mountain Lakes Regional Emergency Medical Services Council.

In that case, Beaudet admitted using two methods to steal money: changing board records to raise his own salary, and writing checks to himself for expenses. He is 60 years old, according to public records.


Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters contacted the attorney general’s office online, Solomon said. The office has received the complaint and is reviewing it, spokeswoman Jillian Fennimore said.

The nonprofit had $1.5 million in assets in the year ended September 2015, according to the latest financial report on its website. The nonprofit says it was founded in 1919 to help Jewish boys and their families after the first World War and was a founding member of the national Big Brothers Big Sisters network.

Today, the agency has an annual budget of about $2.2 million and its mission is to connect children, both Jewish and non-Jewish, with adult mentors in 90 towns and cities around Boston.

It counts Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a larger Boston nonprofit, as one of its backers. Gil Preuss, executive vice president for CJP, said officials had discussed the accounting investigation with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as the financial controls in place.

He said CJP is confident the Newton group “is positioned to properly steward and administer CJP allocations in support of their many important programs going forward.”

CJP also invests a large portion of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters’ endowment fund.

Beth Healy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.