Ex-VP at United Way of Mass. Bay Charged in $6.6M Theft

February 14, 2019 — The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley this week disclosed that a former employee was indicted on a charge of wire fraud in connection with the theft of $6.6 million he allegedly carried out while serving as vice president of information technology at the Boston-based nonprofit.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) previously announced that a grand jury indicted Imran Alrai, 45, of Windham, N.H., who had worked for what DOJ described as "a regional charitable organization headquartered in Boston" for six years, from 2012 until last June, during which he allegedly stole the money and wired it overseas through shell companies he operated.

Alrai is scheduled for trial on Nov. 5.

UWMB on Tuesday issued a statement, in which it said it had independently discovered the alleged misconduct last spring, at which time it ended the vendor relationship with DigitalNet Technology Services LLC, a company Alrai established.

"We are angry and hurt by the actions of Imran Alrai and DigitalNet Technology Solutions, which led to the federal criminal charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office," UWMB noted.

The U.S. attorney's office in Concord, N.H., said it will seek the money's return.

According to the grand jury indictment, issued in November, Alrai allegedly manipulated UWMB's request for proposals process, including providing "glowing and false references," to award contracts to a company UWMB identified as DigitalNet Technology Services LLC, a company Alrai established in his father's name.

Alrai is accused of then funneling the money to Aisa Consulting Group, a company he operates, according to records reportedly filed with the New Hampshire Secretary of State.

UWMB noted that Alrai's employment was terminated last June and has had no connection or affiliation with UWMB since then. The relationship with DigitalNet was also terminated in June 2018.

Alrai also is accused of fraudulently creating invoices for information technology (IT) services that UWMB was already procuring from a legitimate outside vendor, resulting in duplicate payments, which led to a loss of at least $1 million. Alrai also reportedly billed UWMB for services that were never rendered, including nearly $600,000 for data management and high availability backup storage services.

"Alrai insisted that DTS be paid in advance for its services, unlike other vendors at Org1, who were paid only after work was completed. Alrai also used his position at Org1 to ensure prompt payments to DTS," the indictment alleged.

Alrai controlled all documents and information regarding UWMB's IT infrastructure, equipment, and expenditures, according to the DOJ, and concealed and held many of the documents and information off-site, which meant that "in some instances UWMB could not fully determine aspects of its IT systems."

UWMB said, "Mr. Alrai never disclosed his relationship with DigitalNet to us, and in fact, he made numerous misrepresentations and took numerous actions to conceal the true nature of the relationship. The undisclosed relationship created a conflict of interest, and Mr. Alrai's actions violated UWMB's policies.

"Mr. Alrai's actions were a serious betrayal and breach of trust...The isolated actions of a single individual cannot and will not diminish the incredibly important work of our dedicated, professional staff, our committed donors who support our work, and the positive impact we have on the people and communities we serve."

UWMB noted that, following discovery of the missing funds, it "took appropriate action to protect the UWMB, our staff, and the people we serve. We engaged outside experts, including legal counsel, forensic accounting experts, and data security experts, to help us evaluate and respond to these issues. This comprehensive analysis determined that there was no data security breach of any kind, including donor records and information."

UWMB said it intends "to aggressively pursue recovery of damages" it incurred.