Kathryn Farrell in Board Operations
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown likened Richter's actions to "a Ponzi scam," saying that Richter's alleged conduct "represents a betrayal of the confidence that the boards of each building had in him." [Read the D.A.'s full statement]
If Richter is convicted of all charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison.
As Habitat reported in breaking the story in July 2009, Richter allegedly commingled funds. The practice, which some claim is illegal, involves a management firm using one large bank account to pay bills for all its buildings.
In an October 2009 feature, Habitat revealed that Richter and Charter were being investigated for misappropriating money at several buildings it managed. Former employees of Charter, who told the magazine Richter was commingling, said that they had repeatedly received reports from vendors of bills not being paid and checks bouncing, even when their buildings appeared to have the necessary funds.
When questioned, Richter would reportedly tell his managers that he had "forgotten" to transfer money into the appropriate operating account.
According to one former employee, he did, however, buy himself a new home and a $14,000-scooter.
Richter dissolved Charter Management last August, only days after reportedly telling a board member that the July 2009 Habitat account was untrue. In the story, Richter denied any wrongdoing, insisting that his company did not illegally commingle funds.
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