- Ethel Denise Perry was the head of a nonprofit, Millennium Care, that ran a homeless shelter.
- Perry admitted to tax evasion and using money from the city, meant for the shelter, to go shopping.
- Perry must pay $1.1 million; Millennium Care must pay $2.3 million and will be dissolved.
A New York woman who ran a homeless shelter in the Bronx has admitted to stealing millions meant for the nonprofit, and spending it to fund her luxury lifestyle instead.
Ethel Denise Perry was the executive director at Millennium Care, a nonprofit that ran a homeless shelter in the Bronx that received $10 million in funding from the New York City Department of Homeless Services. But instead of using that money to feed and provide social services to homeless families, Perry used it to go shopping, according to a release from the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
On November 19, Perry admitted to illegally taking $2 million from Millennium Care beyond her official salary, and spending it at luxury retailers including Tiffany & Co., Ferragamo, and Bergdorf Goodman, and on her car payments and gym memberships, according to The New York Times. She also used the nonprofit to hire her brother and nephew, paying them “far in excess of their reported salaries,” according to the attorney general’s office.
Last week, she pleaded guilty to criminal tax fraud, and Millennium Care, Inc. pleaded guilty to grand larceny, according to the attorney general’s office.
“Stealing money that is earmarked for people experiencing homelessness is as immoral as it is illegal,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.
“Such actions will never be tolerated in New York, and I will continue to do everything within my power to hold those who take advantage of vulnerable communities accountable,” James added.
During the same time, Perry evaded her tax obligations and underreported her income by hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the attorney general’s office. She is required to pay $1.1 million she owes New York City and state taxes, penalties, and interest during a five-year probation sentence. The plea agreement also bars Perry from nonprofit service.
Millennium Care will pay a fine of $2.4 million and will be dissolved.
The plea comes as New York Mayor Bill de Blasio cracks down on shady activity within nonprofits the city works with to run homeless shelters, The Times reported.
Meanwhile, homelessness in New York City has also climbed to levels last seen during the Great
data from the Coalition for the Homeless. The number of homeless New Yorkers who sleep each night in the city’s shelter system has climbed 18% over the last 10 years.owing largely to a lack of affordable housing, according to November