Founder of non-for-profit from WNY convicted of stealing

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WKBW) - The founder of not-for-profit organization OKI, Opportunities for Kids International, Inc. has been convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and making false statements.

A judge sentenced Deborah Bowers, 63, of Clarence, to time served.

Prosecutors say back in June of 2004, co-defendant Steve Jabar and Bowers, through OKI, applied for and received a $500,000 grant from United Nations to create, maintain, and operate a radio station in Iraq. The mission of the radio station was to further women's rights issues in Iraq.

Within 24 hours of receiving a portion of the grant money, the defendants began to divert some of the funding for their own personal use. Jabar and Bowers diverted more than $65,000 for their own personal use. Jabar used some of the funding to pay off personal debts, including the payment of property taxes owed on his residence and business, as well as mortgage, utility, credit card payments and personal loan payments. Bowers also utilized some of the funding to pay personal credit card debt and make mortgage payments.

During the investigation, the defendants made false statement to investigator with the Internal Revenue Service in order to conceal with criminal behavior.     

 

 

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