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.
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.