Former Goodwill senior officer charged with multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme

goodwill store
A former executive of Goodwill in Brooklyn was arrested and charged last week, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Photo courtesy of Chris Light/Wikimedia Commons

A former senior officer of a Brooklyn-based nonprofit is being charged with wire fraud after allegedly embezzling nearly $2.3 million from her charitable employer, U.S Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced last week. 

Marcia Joseph, 57, the former officer at Goodwill in Brooklyn, allegedly used the money to pay for her own personal expenses — including spa treatments, home remodeling, and her mortgage. The nonprofit, better known for receiving and selling donated clothes and furniture, also provides job training, education and other community-based programs for low-income people across the country.

In New York City, the organization receives funds from the city and from individual donors.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Joseph created a fake company called Prestige Business Services, which supposedly provided specialized services to other companies on behalf of Goodwill – but actually performed no work. Over 16 years, Joseph submitted multiple “fictitious invoices” — some of which were allegedly related to city contracts — to Goodwill, but kept the payments they made for herself. 

She used approximately $235,000 for mortgage payments, $207,000 for credit card payments, $98,000 for car payments, $45,000 for Amazon expenses and other luxury items. Joseph also withdrew nearly $100,000 in cash, payed out approximately $16,000 to friends and family, and issued approximately $50,000 in Prestige checks to herself.

The investigation started earlier this year when a senior executive of Goodwill noticed irregularities and started an internal review. Joseph admitted to the fraud and was fired in March. 

The FBI and the DOI announced Joseph was arrested on Oct. 11 and appeared in Brooklyn Federal Court the same day. She was released from custody on a $50,000 bond.

“As alleged, Joseph lined her pockets with millions of dollars that she stole from a charity,” Peace said in  a statement. “Money that should have gone to support those with employment and educational needs instead was used to pay for the defendant’s personal expenses, including mortgage payments, spa treatments, home remodeling, and landscaping. Today’s charges send a message to those entrusted with positions of trust that if you abuse that trust for personal gain, you will be arrested and prosecuted.”

If convicted, the fiscal officer faces up to 20 years in jail. 

“Depleting resources procured for those with special needs is among the most egregious of financial crimes,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith, in a statement.