The attorneys for the former chairman of the Rochester Housing Authority and a former RHA employee who were charged in a superseding indictment related to alleged fraud want separate trials for their clients.
George Moses, 50, and Janis White, 58, pleaded not guilty Nov. 25 before Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford.
“The face of the indictment would suggest that there’s a lot of stuff that’s alleged against Mr. Moses as opposed to Ms. White,” attorney Michael Tallon, who is representing White, said after the arraignment.
A federal grand jury Nov. 21 returned a 55-count second superseding indictment against Moses and White.
Moses was charged in 53 counts with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, federal program fraud, aggravated identity theft and filing false tax returns. White was charged in 13 counts with conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice. Some of the counts overlapped and some were against one or the other.
White recently was charged by criminal complaint, and those charges are included in the second superseding indictment.
Tallon said he wants different trials to avoid a spillover effect and that he is aware the allegations have caused a stir in the community. Tallon said he recently received 24,000 pages of documents from the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York.
“This is very upsetting for Janis White,” Tallon said. “Janis is a law-abiding citizen of this community. She’s a person of faith. This is terrifying for her and I will be mounting a vigorous defense on her behalf. That’s why I say this it is my hope and expectation that justice be done. She’s innocent of these changes.”
Moses declined to comment as he left the federal building. His attorney, Fred Hafetz, was not immediately available.
Moses, who previously was charged in a superseding indictment, is scheduled for trial Feb. 3. In court, Hafetz requested that date remain. He said there could be prejudice against his client because of allegations made against White.
Tallon and Hafetz have to file paperwork requesting separate trials. If their motions are denied, the joint trial tentatively is scheduled for early June.
In October, Moses was charged in a 28-count indictment for making false statements to the FBI and wire fraud. Those charges are part of the second superseding indictment. White was recently charged by criminal complaint and those charges are likewise included in the second superseding indictment.
According to the second superseding indictment, Moses is charged with various schemes to defraud Quad A for Kids and Rochester Housing Charities, assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Resnick said in a news release.
Moses was board chair of RHA until 2018, and he was a member of the board of directors of the Rochester Housing Charities (RHC) from March 2015 to 2017. Moses still is listed on the website of North East Area Development Association (NEAD) as executive director of the nonprofit neighborhood organization, which is governed by a volunteer board of directors. In court, Hafetz said Moses has lost that position. NEAD works with city officials and agencies to revitalize and stabilize the neighborhood.
Moses is accused of conspiring with Adam McFadden to defraud Quad A for Kids and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. McFadden, former Rochester City Council member, was executive director of Quad A for Kids, which provided after-school and extended-day learning programs at some elementary schools in the City School District. The organization operated as an entity separate from the Rochester City School District and received funding from the Rochester Area Community Foundation Initiatives Inc. (RACF). McFadden also owned Caesar Development LLC, a limited liability company in Rochester.
In August 2017 and February 2018, McFadden created two false invoices stating that Quad A for Kids owed NEAD $4,000 for purported training and other services NEAD provided on behalf of Quad A for Kids at various city schools. Moses and McFadden fraudulently caused the RACF, on behalf of Quad A for Kids, to pay NEAD $8,000, knowing that services were never provided. McFadden then created two invoices which falsely stated that NEAD owed his company Caesar Development LLC a total of $7,000 for purported consultation services Caesar Development LLC provided to NEAD. Authorities asserted that Caesar Development LLC did not provided the services. McFadden has pleaded guilty in federal court for his role in the Quad A for Kids fraud and awaits sentencing.
Moses also is charged with defrauding the RHC by causing the RHC to overpay the RHC’s executive director’s salary and to make other payments to which the executive director was not entitled. According to the U.S. Attorney, Moses received a portion of those funds. Moses also is charged with causing RHC to overpay a contractor and requiring to contractor to deliver some of that money back to Moses. He also is charged with filing false tax returns for 2015 through 2018.
In court Nov. 25, Hafetz took issue with the relevance of the tax charges to other allegations and said he would file a motion to have them heard separately.
White and Moses are charged with defrauding the RHC by causing the RHC to pay a company controlled by White for work that was never performed. HJJ Property Development was a business started on March 9, 2018, with an address of 21 Bock Street, Rochester. The business was owned by Margaret Jones and Howard Jones Jr., White’s mother and stepfather, but authorities said White controlled HJJ Property. The scheme to defraud the RHC allegedly involved White, on behalf of HJJ Property, billing the RHC for worked never performed by HJJ Property. White submitted false invoices on behalf of HJJ Property totaling approximately $87,069.
The second superseding indictment also alleges that White attempted to obstruct the government’s investigation. On Dec. 14, 2018, a federal grand jury subpoena was served on HJJ Property, requesting any and all records related to HJJ Property and any work it purportedly performed on behalf of the RHC. On February 7, 2019, HJJ Property provided its response to the subpoena. The U.S. Attorney’s office said that included in HJJ Property’s response to the subpoena were various altered or fabricated documents produced in response to the subpoena to make it appear that HJJ Property was a legitimate company that had performed services for the RHC.