A former board member of a revered Palm Beach charity was sentenced on Friday for embezzling at least $2 million from its pension fund in a carefully orchestrated scheme that spanned 25 years. 69-year-old William Minor pleaded guilty in September to one count of mail fraud in connection with the massive theft that all but bankrupted the pension fund for employees of the Rehabilitation Center for Children and Adults.
Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, Minor was facing a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks sentenced him to 41 months imprisonment followed by 3 years of supervised release, citing Minor’s significant health problems.
Founded in the 1940s, the Rehabilitation Center for Children and Adults provides injury rehab services, as well as occupational therapy, speech training, and support for people with disabilities. The center has earned praise from locals for helping elderly patients bounce back from surgery and teaching kids early-learning skills in the special needs preschool program.
Minor began overseeing the pension fund in 1976, according to the government. In 1991, he used his status as a registered insurance agent of Transamerica to persuade fellow board members to transfer the pension fund to that company.
It was then when Minor began making fraudulent withdrawals from the fund on behalf of employees who were not eligible for lump-sum payments or had already received benefits. For years, he was required to get sign-offs from plan administrators. He did so by submitting fraudulent documents and having checks mailed to addresses he controlled. He forged signatures on the checks and deposited the money into his bank accounts.
In 2011, Minor formed a corporation titled “Trustees for Rehabilitation Inc.,” and had the checks made out to his company as a way to avoid having to forge checks. To avoid detection, Minor continued processing claims from employees who earned their pensions. He also fooled outside auditors by creating phony Transatlantic stationery, making it appear that the insurer had attested that the fund was in good financial health. He also lied on forms the charity was required to file with the Internal Revenue Service.
The longtime scheme collapsed in April 2016 when Rehabilitation Center officials discovered there was only $1,200 in the pension fund. Months before, Minor had told the IRS there was $972,000 in the account.
After an investigation by Palm Beach police and federal agents, Minor admitted to FBI agents in March 2017 that he had funneled the money into his personal accounts. “He spent all the money,” the government said.