A Saugus selectman is among three former employees of the Boston Center for Adult Education facing criminal charges for allegedly stealing over $1.7 million from the nonprofit, Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said Tuesday.
Mark Mitchell, who was first elected in a special election to recall the board in 2015, was also indicted on various campaign finance charges, Rollins said in a statement.
Mitchell, 49, a former comptroller of the center, faces a slew of charges including making false entries in corporate books, publishing of false or exaggerated statements, common law uttering, and four counts of larceny by scheme. He allegedly directed over $240,000 of the center’s money to a private youth baseball organization he runs, Saugus Wings, the statement said.
He has also been charged in connection with the misuse of campaign funds, specifically, improper campaign expenditures, making a cash campaign expenditure over $50, mixing political committee and personal funds, and a fifth count of larceny by scheme.
Susan B. Brown, the center’s former executive director, and her partner, Karen Kalfian who briefly worked in marketing at the agency, are also due to be indicted.
A Suffolk County grand jury returned 25 indictments alleging offenses against Mitchell and Brown, and one against Kalfian, Rollins said.
“I am committed to holding individuals accountable who abuse their power and betray the public’s trust,” Rollins said in the statement. “Their selfish and criminal actions depleted resources that were intended for the improvement of our communities, but more critically depleted the public’s confidence in our institutions.”
Mitchell joined the nonprofit as comptroller in 2011. For seven years starting that year, Mitchell allegedly issued unauthorized checks to himself and an instructor at the nonprofit. Prosecutors said Mitchell forged the instructor’s signature “in order to deposit the checks into his own account.”
Asked to comment regarding the charges Tuesday night, Mitchell hung up on a reporter.
According to officials, he allegedly embezzled upward of $970,000 through that scheme.
Mitchell also stands accused of making payments from the nonprofit to a youth baseball league he owned and operated. Prosecutors alleged he used his employer to make unauthorized payments totaling $242,749 for personal expenses and that of the baseball team. The expenses paid for his participation in golf tournaments and sending youth baseball players to out-of-state camps, according to the district attorney’s office.
Investigators are also accusing Mitchell of misusing his political campaign funds for personal expenses unrelated to his campaign. According to the district attorney’s office, the unlawful cash withdrawals were allegedly made at locations in Boston, meaning Suffolk prosecutors had jurisdiction in the matter.
Attempts to reach Brown and Kalfian were not immediately successful Tuesday night.
Authorities alleged that Brown, a 66-year-old from Marblehead, allegedly authorized a series of checks to Kalfian that totalled more than $565,000. Brown’s tenure as the BCAE’s executive director lasted from 2009 to 2018.
Those checks were purportedly payments for marketing services, according to the district attorney’s office.
Kalfian did briefly work for the nonprofit in 2005, before Brown was the executive director, “but did not perform any marketing services for the organization in the years since,” Rollins said in the statement.