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Atlantic City Mayor Frank Gilliam admitted today that he stole more than $87,000 from a youth basketball league he ran.
Gilliam, who is now in his second year as mayor, pleaded guilty to an information charge of one wire fraud count.
Gilliam entered into a plea agreement on September 3.
He now faces a maximum penalty of 20 years, although his plea agreement will likely cut a considerable amount off that. Gilliam also faces a fine of up to $250,000.
“Mayor Gilliam took advantage of his victims’ desire to assist underprivileged children by falsely representing that the money contributed to the AC Starz Basketball Club would go to pay for school supplies or to support youth basketball,” said U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito. “Instead, he spent the money on himself. When a public official like Gilliam abuses either a public or a private trust to commit a fraud, this Office and our agency partners will investigate and prosecute that official. The people of New Jersey are entitled to better.”
Gilliam had been a co-founder of the non-profit AC Starz Basketball Club.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Gilliam solicited contributions for the group from individuals not named in the information and “used most of the money for personal expenses – including luxury clothing, expensive meals, and trips – that were completely unrelated to the operation of a youth basketball team.”
On December 26, 2017, a month after he was elected mayor, Gilliam used a debit card associated with the youth basketball account “to make a $568.3 purchase of luxury designer clothing.”
“When a scheme depletes charity for children, it’s unconscionable,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie said. “But when the fraud is perpetrated by someone the public trusts, it damages the community’s confidence in their public servants. This defendant betrayed the trust of his community and of people who wanted to improve the lives of children. The FBI is committed to uncovering fraud and corruption. If you break the law, no matter who you are, you will face the consequences.”