White Plains man who leads a Bronx not-for-profit was accused Tuesday of sending phony documents to FBI agents probing the agency and lying to state authorities about the criminal investigation.
David Griffiths, 65, of Midchester Avenue surrendered to federal authorities in Manhattan and was charged with making false statements, obstruction of justice and mail fraud, crimes that could land him in prison for 20 years if he is convicted.
Griffiths and the not-for-profit, Neighborhood Enhancement for Training and Services, have ties to state Assemblyman Peter Rivera, D-Parkchester. A criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday charging Griffiths said the not-for-profit — which is not named in the complaint — received $599,000, almost all of its funding, from so-called member items secured by a state assemblyman in whose district the agency is located. That money was in addition to $1.2 million secured by the assemblyman to buy and renovate a building in the Parkchester section of the Bronx. Rivera is not named in the complaint.
The complaint says there is a pending federal criminal investigation related to the not-for-profit and its directors and officers.
A spokesman for Rivera, Anton Konev, said the assemblyman had no comment on the charges against Griffiths because they were not related to Rivera.
“The assemblyman is not implicated in this indictment,” he said. He acknowledged that Rivera had secured funding for the not-for-profit in the past and had a “business interest” with Griffiths. The complaint says Griffiths and the assemblyman were partners in a law firm. Griffiths also served as Rivera’s campaign treasurer. The firm of Rivera and Griffiths was in the same Bronx building as Neighborhood Enhancement for Training and Services. Griffiths was disbarred in 2001, though it is unclear what led to his disbarment.
Jessie Erwin, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, declined to comment on whether Rivera is under investigation, saying the office does not confirm or deny investigations.
Griffiths is accused of sending the FBI documents in July 2009 that falsely stated the not-for-profit’s board of directors authorized him to take payments from the agency when that was not really the case. Federal authorities also charge that Griffiths lied on a September 2010 grant application to the state Dormitory Authority when he checked a box stating that he and the agency had not been the subject of a criminal investigation within the last five years.