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Alleged major chutzpah: Woman under indictment for embezzlement gets job at new company under married name and starts embezzling there as well, feds charge

A Canton woman who embezzled nearly $1.4 million from a Boston non-profit used her married name to get a job at a Brookline non-profit while facing federal charges and started embezzling money there as well, according to a federal charge unsealed today.

Nicole Descarbeau, also known as Nicole Coulibaly, was charged with one count of bank fraud for the $56,963.67 she allegedly sucked out of the accounts of the Brookline non-profit, which is not named in court documents but which was described in an FBI agent's affidavit as "focused on providing affordable housing opportunities."

Next week, Descarbeau, 53, is scheduled to be sentenced for embezzling $1,389,317.42 from a Boston non-profit between 2013 and 2018. She was indicted on nine counts of wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in that case in September, 2018 and pleaded guilty last December. Sentencing was delayed so long in part by Covid-19, in part by her efforts to raise $250,000 as restitution, according to court documents.

According to the FBI agent's affidavit, in March, 2019, six months after her indictment in that case - and nine months before she agreed to plead guilty - Descarbeau applied for a job at the Brookline non-profit under her married last name, Coulibaly.

During the application process, LESCARBEAU did not tell Victim 2 about the Indictment related to her embezzlement from Victim 1. LESCARBEAU also attempted to conceal her maiden name - the name under which she was charged in the Indictment – from Victim 2 by using her married name, "Nicole Coulibaly," during the application process. For example, while submitting a resume that contained an email address reflecting her maiden name, LESCARBEAU’s resume said her name was "Nicole Coulibaly," an applicant with "[o]ver 12 years Admin experience" who was "[a]dept at working with little or no supervision[.]"

The organization hired her in April.

As part of her duties, LESCARBEAU was responsible for assisting with certain financial transactions on behalf of Victim 2, including preparing checks as directed by Victim 2's president (the, "Company President"), and purchasing items for board meetings using a debit card. LESCARBEAU was also given information concerning how to access various financial accounts held by Victim 2, including the ATM pin as well as the online account username and password for [the organization's bank account].

In August, the embezzlement began, the affidavit states. Lescarbeau signed checks over to herself, set up a PayPal account in the group's name but linked to her bank account, and made wire transfers to third parties for her personal expenses, such as nearly $19,000 sent to her Canton landlord between October, 2019 and February of this year for both current rent and to pay off some $13,000 in back rent, the affidavit says. She used $218.18 in money diverted to the PayPal account to buy swimsuits, the affidavit continues.

Also:

on or about September 13, 2019, the Company President issued a check in the amount of approximately $3,108.00 made payable to an organization that provides housing for the homeless in the Boston metro-area ("Check 1116"). The memo line of Check 1116 included the notation: "September Rent." Thereafter, without authorization from the Company President, the payee of Check 1116 was changed to LESCARBEAU. On or about the same day, LESCARBEAU deposited Check 1116 into her personal bank account at TD Bank. Rockland Trust then paid TD Bank $3,108.00, and those funds were deposited into LESCARBEAU’s TD- 3952 Account.

According to the affidavit, Lescarbeau tried to hide the diversions. On Dec. 18, just six days after she was in federal court in Boston pleading guilty to the earlier counts, she prepared a quarterly financial report for the organization's treasurer that omitted some 81 entries for nearly $75,000 in expenses.

But the scheme began to unravel this past February, when the treasurer took a more detailed look at outgoing payments and sent e-mail to the organization president and Lescarbeau/Coulibaly asking what they were for. The listing included payments to her Canton landlord.

Later that day, the Company President responded: "I have no idea what these checks are for."

Lescarbeau/Coulibaly replied the payments were "automatic payments" and attached what the FBI agent said was "a false report" claiming a payment made to a local public housing agency in November that, in fact was not made, because the money was one of the payments to her landlord.

On or about February 12, 2020, LESCARBEAU sent another email to the Company President and the Treasurer requesting a meeting. LESCARBEAU wrote: "I would like an opportunity to speak with you and try to explain things a bit. I realize you probably don't think I deserve it, however I am asking you as a parent and human being to please consider it." She continued: "Could we schedule something for the week of February 24th? I don't want you to think I am 'fleeing,' I am not." Thereafter, rather than respond to her request for a meeting, Victim 2 reported LESCARBEAU to law enforcement.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

AND THAT'S WHY IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL FOR MARRIED WOMEN TO USE THEIR MAIDEN NAMES!!!

- Some conservative pundit, I assume

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Good hate by you.

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Hi Adam,

A couple of errors. You wrote:

According to the FBI agent's affidavit, in March, 2019, six months after her indictment in that case - and nine months before she agreed to plead guilty - Descarbeau applied for a job at the Brookline non-profit under her married last name, Coulibaly.

  • Her maiden name was Lescarbeau (per FBI affidavit), not Descarbeau. So she's is Nicole Lescarbeau Coulibaly.
  • Her first job was as Nicole Lescarbeau (maiden name) and second job was as Nicole Coulibaly (married name).
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Voting closed 10

Clearly, I can't keep two names straight for a second. Fixed!

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Birth name, former name, previous name all work, and they don't imply that women are born with the intention that they marry a man and remain a virgin until doing so. (Nor that people don't change their names for other reasons; there are so many forms that only allow someone to have had a different name if it was for the reason of being a women who had a previous virginal name.)

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The term is so broadly used (e.g. maiden voyage, maiden racehorse) that I don't think it really conjures up that notion in the minds of most people who use or hear it.

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The Boston non-profit where I work also had a Nicole embezzle money!! So clearly the lesson is, if you're a non-profit in the Boston area, don't hire anyone named Nicole to deal with your finances.

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Nicole and dime you to death.

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Hahaha!

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@Turalura Lipschitz :)

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Touchy-feely boards who have no conception about internal controls. Nothing approaching private sector employee accountability. That's why so many former members of the political class seek refuge there.

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Embezzlement NEVER happens in the private sector. {insert eye roll}

How quickly folks forget about Enron and Bernie Madoff...

There's never any embezzlement or fraud in the private sector, especially not in our own backyard.

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Nonprofits should be on the lookout for Trumps and Fallwells, eh?

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I worked for a tech start-up where the head of IT defrauded us out of $1m by order equipment and selling it to a couple guys in Craigslist then forging invoices to comparable dollar amounts for equipment we would actually use.

After being caught/arrested by IRS and Postal Inspector, then fired, he got a job while awaiting trial at another tech start up and defrauded them for almost 500k.

Interestingly, neither the IRS, Postal Inspector nor the vendor gave us a heads up even after they had direct evidence so he just continued to spend 100's of thousands of dollars.

Received a 7.5 federal sentence.

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But the dates don't line up with the affidavit, plus, that non-profit was focused on puppets, not housing.

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I do not understand how the second non-profit hired her. If she had access to their finances they should have done a basic background check. Using her SSN, it should/would have caught this regardless of the name she used. The second non-profit needs to take some responsibility for this - but that's for their Board to address.

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At least she used "embezzled" funds to prevent homelessness.

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From my reading of the article she diverted funds intended to prevent homelessness to her own purposes....

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I think Notfromboston meant that she prevented her own homelessness by paying her rent with stolen money.

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I believe notfrom is saying that she used the funds to pay her rent, thus preventing her from becoming homeless.

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Maybe not the most important feature of this story, but there are too many "non-profits" around controlling too much money and responsible for too much important work. The government should really be filling many of these functions. I'm perfectly aware that fraud and embezzlement happens within the government as well, but at least there tends to be more oversight. Many non-profits seem to be little more than jobs programs for white collar do-nothings, letting them give themselves a fancy-person title and collect a fancy-person paycheck while doing little other than directing money to other, equivalent people in other non-profits. It's such a waste.

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just have a big ol' ax to grind?

one thing I can agree with you on: yes, government should be responsible for A LOT of what non-profits do. only thing is, the reason that you see so many non-profits, NGOs, etc.. doing that "really important work" is because local, state, and federal governments have been abandoning their essential duties for the last four decades. it's not like non-profits wrested control of those tasks away from government: civil society has been forced to do it.

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I do actually know people who work in the non-profit sector, yes, and almost all of them are good people trying to do good work. Many of them work on issues relating to poverty, in organizations that struggle to produce results while paying multiple administrators six figures.

Absolutely true that non-profits are stepping in to a void We The People have chosen to create. Still, thanks to tax incentives and the demographics of the people who tend to work at non-profits, especially the larger institutional ones, the non-profit sector has become another tentacle of late capitalist finance. Increasing the flow of money through their accounts seems to be the most important function for many (not all) of these organizations.

I'm really not trying to say non-profits are bad, or are even behaving in an unexpected way. My point is that non-profits are not a viable substitute for the government, and some of them need to go if we want to get our society back on a more just track. No ax here. Just disappointment.

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If someone wants to start a non-profit with what to me looks like a ridiculous purpose, say for example providing cute handmade outfits to the squirrels on Boston Common, while paying the staff of the nonprofit what to me looks like a ridiculously high salary, say $350,000 per year for the president, I'm free to ignore their fundraising appeal. If some other fully consenting adults freely want to donate their own money to said nonprofit... as long as everyone is operating transparently and nobody is misrepresenting anything to anybody, who am I, or the state, or anybody else to say "you can't do that" to them?

With that said, I agree that there's a lot of redundant administrative bloat in the nonprofit world.

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