Former Head of Nonprofit Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Mental Health Clinic Out of Over $2 Million
A former head of a Philadelphia nonprofit mental health clinic was sentenced to 82 months in prison for perpetrating a multiyear fraud scheme through which she stole over $2 million from the clinic that she headed, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
On June 23, 2017, a jury found Renee Tartaglione, 62, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, guilty of 53 counts of conspiracy, fraud, theft and tax crimes. Today, U.S. District Court Judge Joel H. Slomsky sentenced Tartaglione to serve 82 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, Judge Slomsky ordered Tartaglione to forfeit $2,401,850 in proceeds from her scheme and to pay $2,339,691 in restitution to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, which will hold that money in trust until a successor charitable organization can be identified.
“Renee Tartaglione abused her position at a community clinic and stole over $2 million from important taxpayer-funded programs for individuals in need of mental health treatment,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “Her conviction and sentence should send a clear message that the Department of Justice and our federal and state partners will aggressively work to bring to justice those who defraud institutions devoted to serving individuals in need.”
“The defendant funneled millions of dollars, meant to help economically disadvantaged people with mental health issues, into her own pockets to finance her comfortable lifestyle,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Today’s sentence reinforces the basic precept that nonprofit organizations – especially those that provide important services to the disadvantaged – exist for the people they serve and not for the personal enrichment of their leaders.”
According to the evidence presented at trial, between 2007 and 2015, Tartaglione, as President of the Board of Directors of the Juniata Community Mental Health Clinic (JCMHC), defrauded and stole money from JCMHC through a series of actions designed to benefit her personally at the expense of the clinic. Tartaglione purchased a building on 3rd Street in Philadelphia that housed the clinic and then raised the rent repeatedly, causing the clinic’s rent to increase from $4,500 per month to $25,000 per month.
Additionally, in 2010, Tartaglione’s company, Norris Hancock LLC, acquired an interest in a building on 5th Street, and Tartaglione began causing the clinic to spend money to improve that building. In December 2012, Tartaglione leased the 5th Street building to JCMHC for $35,000 per month for the first two years, and $75,000 per month for the next three years. The rent Tartaglione charged the nonprofit clinic at both buildings was substantially higher than market rates.
None of the JCMHC rent increases or the lease agreements were approved by JCMHC’s Board of Directors. The evidence further showed that Tartaglione and her co-conspirators created false and fictitious documents in an attempt to make the transactions appear legitimate.
This case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the Philadelphia Office of the Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bea Witzleben of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Peter N. Halpern of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section.