New York City officials took action over the past two weeks against two homeless shelter operators doing business in the Bronx for documented incidents of self-dealing, nepotism, and stealing.
The Department Of Homeless Services announced last week that it will no longer be operating with one of the city’s biggest shelter operators, CORE Services Group, after efforts to reform the operator failed. Attorney General Letitia James also announced the guilty plea of Ethel Denise Perry and her nonprofit Millennium Care, Inc. on Nov. 22 for stealing millions of dollars meant for the operation of a Bronx homeless shelter, using the funds to fuel her luxury lifestyle rather than support shelter operation costs.
Perry, the executive director of Millennium Care, Inc. received $10 million from the New York City Department of Homeless Services to support her homeless shelter converted from a 100-room hotel in the Bronx. Instead of using the money to provide short-term housing services to homeless individuals, Perry used more than $2 million between 2013 and 2016 to go shopping at luxury retailers such as Tiffany & Co and Bergdorf Goodman, according to charges detailed in a news release from James’ office.
“Stealing money that is earmarked for people experiencing homelessness is as immoral as it is illegal,” James said in a statement. “This individual broke the law by failing to pay taxes while taking money from a homeless shelter in order to provide a luxurious lifestyle for herself and her family members.”
Perry is also guilty of tax evasion as well as hiring family members to work with Millennium Care to pay them “far in excess of their reported salaries,” James’ office said. Perry pled guilty to Criminal Tax Fraud in the Second Degree and Millennium Care, Inc. pled guilty to Grand Larceny in the first Degree.
As a result, Perry will be barred from nonprofit work and she will be required to pay the $1,138,208 that she owes in taxes during a five-year probation sentence. Millennium care, Inc. will be required to pay a fine of $2,394,169 and will be dissolved.
This isn’t the first time the city has encountered trouble working with nonprofits contracted to provide services for the homeless. The Department Of Homeless Services also announced last week that it will no longer be operating with one of the city’s biggest shelter operators, CORE Services Group, after efforts to reform the operator failed.
According to a New York Times investigation, CEO Jack Brown paid himself an extra $1 million a year, hired relatives and used city funds to support his own for-profit enterprises.