APRIL 08, 2008
For more than a decade the government gave millions of taxpayer dollars to a man that claimed to help the mentally disabled but instead used the money to finance his lavish lifestyle, pay a close friend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a no-show job and make illegal campaign contributions to a local politician.
Although Seibert Phillips lied about his credentials (he falsely claimed he was a certified social worker with a master’s degree) and blew hundreds of thousands of dollars on luxury cars, expensive television sets and pricey alcohol, the government kept the money flowing without bothering to check how it was spent by the so-called social services agency he founded more than 12 years ago out of his tiny Brooklyn apartment.
Thanks to a local newspaper’s investigative series, Phillips and the agency he calls Center for Serving People in Need, has been exposed for massive fraud and corruption that has robbed more than 100,000 disabled people of much-needed services. Phillips actually used a $27,000 government grant to launch the agency and the public funds have generously poured in over the years, totaling $14 million.
Besides paying himself $300,000 to be executive director, Phillips used the government money to pay his buddy $250,000 for a now-show job, buy nearly $20,000 worth of gas for his son, give illegal campaign contributions to a Queens assemblywoman and pay for his expensive travel, wine and other merchandise. This shameful waste of public dollars illustrates that the government needs to scrutinize programs that receive tax money.
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