Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017
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Man who defrauded Lucas County Job and Family Services of $2.5M pleads guilty

The founder and general manager of a company that Lucas County Job and Family Services contracted with to provide work training services pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding the agency out of some $2.5 million.

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Visitors to the Lucas County Job & Family Services building, on Monroe Street in Toledo, found it closed Wednesday, July 13.

The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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Daniel E. Morris, 68, of Maumee pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit program fraud and mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to launder money, and failure to pay over withheld payroll taxes.

Morris was one of four people indicted last year by a federal grand jury on charges alleging Toledo-based Business Rehabilitation Informed Decisions Guiding Employment Strategies, Inc., (BRIDGES) had received more than $15.7 million in government funding over a 10-year period to provide job training for the poor but had used a portion of that money to buy vehicles and real estate among other personal expenses.

Also named in the indictment was one-time Toledo mayoral candidate James D. Moody, 56, who federal prosecutors say was the registered agent and sole shareholder of BRIDGES. He is accused of providing the initial investment to start the company.

Prosecutors said Mr. Moody was paid a salary by BRIDGES even though he did not work there and, beginning in 2008, payroll checks were issued to Mr. Moody's wife, who also never worked for the company.

Morris admitted he used federal funds to help Mr. Moody “in purchasing an ownership interest in Flex Realty, an unrelated real estate business, and purchasing and rehabilitating commercial real estate properties,” the plea agreement states.

The indictment, which also named Toledoans Victoria Hawkins, 30, and Angela Bowser, 46, alleges the group defrauded federal, state, and county government between 2004 and 2015 by inflating their costs, falsifying records, and creating fictitious audit reports.

Morris is to be sentenced Feb. 20 by Judge Jack Zouhary.

Mr. Moody, Ms. Hawkins, and Ms. Bowser are scheduled for trial Dec. 1.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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