A former assistant superintendent to schools with the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington has been charged with stealing more than $2.1 million in funds meant for coronavirus relief.
According to the Washington Blade, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia released a statement saying that 41-year-old Kenneth P. Gaughan has been arrested and charged iover an unsealed criminal complaint from August 11. The charges against the openly gay man are for one count of bank fraud, one count of theft of government funds, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering.
According to the statement, Gaughan allegedly applied for coronavirus relief loans with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PP) and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program. The problem is, he not only applied using over a dozen fake company names and information, but he used that money to buy himself a $300,000 yacht, a $1.13 million townhouse in D.C., and a $46,000 luxury sports car.
This isn’t the first time that Gaughan has gotten himself in trouble with the law for theft. According to NBC Washington, Gaughan was formerly indicted of embezzling nearly $45,000 from the Archdiocese of Washington in September 2018. Gaughan was accused of transmitting fraudulent invoices and having the archdiocese issue checks for services that he knew would never be provided.
In the end, a federal judge ruled in Gaughan’s defense on a technicality. It turns out that the three checks at the center of the case were not mailed from or delivered to Maryland but delivered in Nebraska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. As such, the judge ruled that the case had to be brought to those areas. However, that wasn’t the end of allegations against Gaughan for embezzlement while working for the Archdiocese. The criminal complaint unsealed on August 11 included those accusations.
“Mr. Gaughan was so emboldened by deceiving a church for eight years he then, allegedly, turned his deception to the government, stealing funds that were meant to be a lifeline for struggling businesses during an unprecedented economic downturn, and greedily using them to satisfy his own materialistic desires,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone.
“We will not tolerate exploitation of this national emergency for personal gain,” said Acting U.S. Attorney for D.C. Michael R. Sherwin. “This office will not allow fraudsters to steal taxpayer money intended to help small businesses that are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This past Tuesday, Gaughan pleaded not guilty to all charges placed against him. The U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan then gave permission for Gaughan to be released as he awaits trial.