Former Hollywood Anti-Poverty Nonprofit CEO Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement, Cheating on Taxes

Former Hollywood Anti-Poverty Nonprofit CEO Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement, Cheating on Taxes

Downtown Los Angeles on Jan. 20, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

12/13/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

A former CEO of a Hollywood-based anti-poverty nonprofit was sentenced to six months in federal prison Dec. 13 for embezzlement and failing to report the funds on tax returns.
Howard Dixon Slingerland, 54, of Studio City, pleaded guilty March 8 to one count of conversion and intentional misapplication of funds from the organization that received federal money, and one count of signing a false federal income tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
Some of the money taken was used for expensive dinners, computer equipment, and private tutoring, the office reported Dec. 13.
Mr. Slingerland led the Youth Policy Institute Inc., a nonprofit that worked to eradicate poverty in the Los Angeles area. He was fired in September 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The agency operated in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Los Angeles, running programs aimed at supporting youth education, development, safety, job training, and health and wellness.
As the CEO, Mr. Slingerland had check-signing authority over the agency’s bank accounts and was the personal guarantor of its credit card.
According to federal authorities, he allowed nearly $72,000 of the agency’s funds to be spent on unauthorized expenditures, including his personal property tax bill that was more than $14,000.
He also spent more than $6,000 on a family dinner at an upscale New York City restaurant, about $11,000 on private tutoring for a family member, and $2,000 on a home computer and software, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Mr. Slingerland also allowed federal grant money to be used for payroll and to pay for credit card charges he had made, federal officials reported. The grant money was awarded to the agency to support an education and training program designed to prepare young adults in Los Angeles for jobs in growing industries.
About $402,000 was spent on the agency’s payroll and about $201,000 on paying off credit card bills.
Mr. Slingerland also underreported his income for tax purposes by more than $100,000 each year from 2015 to 2018, according to authorities. The unreported money was received from the agency through embezzlement and retirement plan contributions, housing, and vehicle allowances.
The former CEO admitted to owing about $147,000 in unpaid taxes, not including penalties and interest, for those years, according to authorities.
“Entrusted with the management of a large non-profit organization on which many community members had come to depend, [Slingerland] ignored the rules and used the organization’s money to pay for his own personal expenses, some of which were extravagant, even profligate,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum.
In November 2019, two months after Slingerland was fired, the youth nonprofit declared bankruptcy.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
Jill McLaughlin

Jill McLaughlin

Author

Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.