South Lake Tahoe – December 7, 2023
In a startling development, Richard Alan Abrusci, from South Lake Tahoe, former President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada, has been arrested on charges of orchestrating a sophisticated embezzlement scheme, siphoning over $1.4 million from the prominent charity. U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced the arrest following a federal grand jury indictment that includes nine counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and three counts of monetary transactions with proceeds of specified unlawful activity.
Background and Allegations:
Court documents reveal that Abrusci, 45, assumed a pivotal role within the non-profit organization in 2014. Progressing from Chief Operating Officer in 2016 to President and CEO in 2018, Abrusci allegedly exploited his position to manipulate financial transactions for personal gain.
Between 2016 and 2021, Abrusci is accused of masterminding a fraudulent payment scheme involving a fictitious entity named Resolution Arrangement Services (RAS). The indictment contends that RAS, a mere façade created by Abrusci in 2008, received approximately $1.4 million from the non-profit organization and one of its subsidiaries. Abrusci purportedly justified these payments using concocted documents, including invoices, purchase orders, and a forged letter from a non-existent attorney.
Fictitious Services and False Pretenses:
The payments to RAS, ostensibly earmarked for information-technology services, lawsuit settlement facilitation, and COVID-19 call center support, were, in reality, a sham. RAS, as per the indictment, provided none of the services claimed in its billings.
One particularly egregious instance detailed in the court documents involves Abrusci using a forged letter to deceive the organization’s CFO into authorizing a $55,000 payment to RAS under false pretenses related to a lawsuit.
Legal Ramifications and Potential Penalties:
If convicted, Abrusci faces severe legal consequences. Each of the nine wire fraud counts carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Additionally, the three counts of monetary transactions with proceeds of specified unlawful activity carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine each. The aggravated identity theft charge could lead to an additional two years in prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas M. Fogg is leading the prosecution, and the case stems from an investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation.
Goodwill’s Swift Response: New Leadership Onboard:
In response to the allegations and arrest, Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada has appointed Ken Gosney as the new CEO. The organization swiftly moved to fill the leadership vacuum, emphasizing a commitment to transparency and accountability in the wake of the embezzlement allegations.
Abrusci is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and any sentence will be determined at the discretion of the court, considering statutory factors and Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
As the legal proceedings unfold, the community awaits further revelations about the extent of the alleged embezzlement scheme and its impact on one of the region’s prominent charitable organizations.
The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigations.
Ken Gosney has since been hired as the CEO of the Goodwill Industries of Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada.
Gosney had served seven years as the CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Columbia, which covered part of Washington state, where he was born and raised. Following the departure of Richard Abrusci, the former Sacramento-area Goodwill CEO, a local board member contacted Gosney to see if he’d be interested in applying for the position. His wife was born and raised in Sacramento and still has family in the area, so they came down for a weekend and interviewed.
Education: Graduated from Heritage University in Toppenish, Washington with a master’s degree in school administration and bachelor’s degree in English/language arts.
Career background: Spent four years as an English teacher at Prosser High School in Prosser, Washington, before spending 12 years as principal of Hanford High School in Washington. Worked as CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Columbia from September 2015 to January 2022.
Personal: Wife of 30 years, daughter (27), and two sons (22 and 18).