Former Portland charity chief gets prison for embezzling money intended to feed needy kids
Former Portland charity leader Gerardo Mosquera was sentenced on Wednesday to five years in prison for stealing money that was supposed to help feed and teach underprivileged children.
U.S. authorities extradited Mosquera last year from his native Colombia, where he had fled after U.S. authorities put him under investigation for fraud.
From 2003 to 2009, Mosquera ran a Portland nonprofit called Diversity Initiatives, accepting $1.6 million from the Oregon Department of Education. The money was supposed to go toward feeding and teaching needy girls and boys.
But in 2008, Department of Education workers grew suspicious of Mosquera. They learned that the number of sites where he served meals had decreased at a time when he was claiming to feed more children. An audit revealed that Mosquera had taken money for about 100,000 meals he never served, government prosecutors say.
Under investigation for fraud in 2009, Mosquera fled to Colombia. He had spent about nineteen years in the U.S. on a six-month green card for visitors.
Prosecutors sought a 10-year prison term for Mosquera, alleging that he deserved more time for abusing a position of public trust. But U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez imposed five years.
A government news release noted that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement placed a detainer on Mosquera and will likely seek to deport him when he gets out of prison.