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NPO’s IT Manager Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Kyriakos “Rick” Kapiris, who served as information technology manager Venture Community Services in Sturbridge, Mass, pleaded guilty in federal court in Worcester, Mass., to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. The charges stemmed from activities Kapiris undertook while employed at the organization.

Venture Community Services provides outreach, residential and transportation services for developmentally disabled people throughout Massachusetts.

Kapiris began embezzling the funds in 2016, a year after he was hired. It went on through May 2020 and he was fired on May 29, 2020, after an internal investigation revealed what the organization called via a statement “financial crimes.” In all, he is alleged to have embezzled around $366,477, according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts. Kapiris was indicted in October 2021.

The amount Kapiris embezzled in each given year is not known. For the 12 months ending June 30, 2020, Venture reported total revenue of $36.9 million, revenue less expenses of $431,223, and net assets of $15.3 million.

According to the statement from the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Venture had issued Kapiris access to two credit cards, ostensibly for the use of equipment purchases and relevant services. Kapiris created three vendor accounts, two of which were in the name of legitimate Massachusetts companies and one of which, NetworkingPlus, was a company he controlled. Kapiris used the Square payment app and an Amazon account to direct payments for equipment he had purportedly purchased to his pockets.

“None of the people supported by Venture were affected by the crimes,” Venture Community Services President & CEO Mike Hyland said via a statement. “Venture conducted a criminal background check on this former employee prior to hire and had rigorous internal controls in place that are reviewed annually by an independent auditor. Venture is grateful for the efforts of the Sturbridge Police Department, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts in bringing Kapiris to justice.”

Sentencing has been scheduled for Oct. 14. The wire fraud charges carry a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,00. The money laundering charge provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised relief and a fine of $250,000.

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