TYRONE BROOKS INDICTED: Georgia State Rep. Tyrone Brooks Sr. (D-Atlanta) was indicted on fraud and tax charges for allegedly misappropriating nearly $ 1 million in charitable funds from Universal Humanities and the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials.
Brooks was charged by a federal grand jury in a 30 count indictment including charges of mail, wire and tax fraud. The indictment charges that from the mid 90s through 2012, Brooks solicited contributions from individuals and corporate donors to combat illiteracy and fund other charitable causes, but instead, used the funds to pay personal expenses. Source
The indictment alleges Tyrone Brooks Sr. substantially underreported his income to the IRS for the years 2007 through 2011. Another black politician bites the dust. Sad way to end a long career in Georgia politics. It’s rather shameful, but he’s presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Here’s an excerpt from the FBI’s press release about the Tyrone Brooks indictment:
Universal Humanities Scheme
The indictment charges two fraud schemes, the first involving a tax-exempt charity, Universal Humanities, Inc., that Brooks established in the early 1990s. From at least 1995 through 2012,Brooks solicited contributions for Universal Humanities from corporate and individual donors purportedly to combat illiteracy in disadvantaged communities in Georgia and across the southeastern United States, eventually raising more than $ 780,000. Donors included the Coca-Cola Company ($ 400,000), Georgia Pacific Company ($ 140,000), Northside Hospital ($ 240,000), and others who gave smaller amounts. Brooks made specific false representations in his written solicitations about the work that Universal Humanities was doing to combat illiteracy and how the donated funds would be used, claiming that Universal Humanities had established literacy programs and was conducting workshops and tutoring and mentoring students. He also falsely claimed that Universal Humanities utilized a staff and operated under the direction of a board of directors.
The indictment alleges that in reality, Brooks did not use the donations to promote and address literacy in Georgia or elsewhere, or to retain a staff, occupy office space, fund workshops, hire instructors, or conduct programs attended by students. Instead, Brooks used the money to pay personal expenses for himself and members of his family, including home repairs, furniture, lawn service, life insurance, entertainment, personal credit card expenses, utility bills, food and clothing, dry cleaning, electronic equipment, jewelry, and payments on personal loans, among other personal expenses.
A second related scheme charged in the indictment alleges that Brooks also diverted charitable donations he solicited on behalf of GABEO and used much of the money to pay personal expenses for himself and his family. GABEO is an organization of state, county, and municipal elected officials that promotes voter registration, crime prevention, literacy and economic empowerment initiatives.
The indictment alleges that Brooks solicited contributions to GABEO from corporations, organizations, and individuals. When Brooks was elected as GABEO’s president in 1993, the organization already maintained an official bank account at a local bank. This account was administered by GABEO’s treasurer, and disbursements required two signatures by GABEO board members. In December 1997, Brooks secretly opened a second GABEO bank account at a different bank. Brooks set himself up as the sole signatory on this account and had the account statements sent to his address rather than the address of the GABEO treasurer. Brooks then deposited the donations he solicited on behalf of GABEO into this undisclosed account, and used much of these funds to pay personal expenses for himself and his relatives.
Between 2002 and 2012, businesses, civic, religious groups, and individuals contributed approximately $ 300,000 to GABEO through Brooks, which he then deposited into the undisclosed GABEO account. The indictment alleges that Brooks misappropriated donations he solicited on behalf of GABEO from corporations, local teacher unions, small business owners, and individual donors—all of whom relied on Brooks’ assurances that the contributions were intended to further GABEO’s community activities. The GABEO board was unaware of this activity and did not approve these transactions. In fact, the indictment alleges that after Brooks began diverting donations, members of GABEO’s board of directors noted the organization’s apparent loss of most of its corporate donations.
The Hinterland Gazette