Former Connections counselor William A. Brown was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leonard P. Stark to a year in prison for wire fraud on January 29.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Brown, age 52, of Felton, was previously a job placement counselor at Connections Community Support Programs, Inc.
During 2015 and 2016, Connections contracted with the Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (“DVR”) to help that organization provide employment counseling and job placement services to individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act provides funding for DVR and sets goals; DVR receives 80 percent of its funding through federal government programs.
As part of a multi-year effort Brown submitted falsified client paperwork and created bogus client paystubs so that DVR would pay Connections for completed client services. By submitting more than 30 false documents over a two-year period, Brown not only caused the payment of excess funds to Connections, he made Connections’ services appear more successful than they actually were and so improved his own job security, prosecutors stated.
In sentencing the defendant, Stark stated that the defendant’s “actions contribute to undermining public support in these types of programs.”
U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss stated, “The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation performs an important service for Delaware citizens, and its mission is undermined when a self-interested contractor like the defendant commits fraud. By falsifying client paperwork in a way that boosted his own performance numbers and triggered payments by DVR to Connections, the defendant put his own job security above the job prospects of the clients that Connections was contracted to assist. The defendant’s sentence of incarceration sends an important message that fraud on government programs will not be tolerated by the criminal justice system.”
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Baltimore Division’s Wilmington Office, U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, with help from the Delaware Department of Justice.
Separately, Connections, one of the state’s largest nonprofits, has been under investigation after record-keeping complaints regarding a program with the state corrections system.
A new CEO has been named to succeed the longtime chief executive of Connections.