A Montgomery County, Md., grand jury on Sept. 10 handed down a six-count indictment against Frank Oldham Jr., the former CEO of the National Association of People with AIDS, accusing him of stealing between $10,000 and $100,000 from the organization in November 2012.
According to the indictment, the alleged theft took place three months before NAPWA filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February 2013. At the time of the bankruptcy filing NAPWA announced it was shutting its doors 30 years after it was founded in 1983 as the nation’s leading organization representing people with AIDS.
Oldham served as executive director and CEO of NAPWA from January 2006 to November 2013, when he resigned following unconfirmed reports that thousands of dollars of the organization’s funds were missing or unaccounted for.
The first count of the indictment states that Oldham “did, on or about, and in between the dates of Nov. 18, 2012 and Nov. 19, 2012, pursuant to one scheme and continuing course of conduct, steal U.S. currency, the property of the National Association of People With AIDS, having a value of at least $10,000 but less than $100,000” in violation of the Maryland criminal code.
The second through fourth counts charge him with theft of between $1,000 and $10,000 from NAPWA. Count 5 and Count 6 of the indictment each charge Oldham with “unauthorized disclosure of a credit card number” in connection with the alleged theft scheme.
“Mr. Oldham denies these allegations and maintains his innocence,” said Thomas DeGonia II, Oldham’s attorney, in a statement to the Blade.
“In an atmosphere of allegations and baseless rumors, Mr. Oldham welcomes the opportunity to defend himself against these charges and remains dedicated to spreading awareness, expanding access, and serving the needs of the community,” DeGonia said.
At the time of its bankruptcy filing in February 2013 NAPWA declared it owed more than $750,000 to creditors and had no means of paying the debt. In a development that raised eyebrows among AIDS activists, the bankruptcy filing also stated that Oldham owed NAPWA $88,360 in an unexplained “accounts receivable claim.”
At the time, NAPWA officials, including the head of its Board of Trustees, Tyler TerMeer, declined to comment on any aspect of the bankruptcy, including the reason why the filing said Oldham owed the organization money.
Sources familiar with NAPWA disclosed at the time of the bankruptcy filing that the Board of Trustees contacted the Montgomery County State’s Attorney and asked that an investigation be opened into possible theft of NAPWA funds.
Ramon Korionoff, a spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office, told the Washington Blade at the time that the office could neither confirm nor deny that an investigation was underway related to NAPWA.
On Friday, Assistant State’s Attorney Laura Chase said her office would have no immediate comment on the indictment against Oldham. Chase said that in most cases involving non-violent crimes, persons indicted are given a summons to appear in court rather than placed under arrest by police.
Court records show that Oldham is scheduled to appear at a court hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 2, before Judge John Debelius III.
If convicted on all counts Oldham could face a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000, and could be required to make restitution for the money he allegedly stole.
In his statement to the Blade, Degonia called Oldham a passionate advocate for the rights of people with HIV/AIDS who has raised awareness for underserved communities affected by AIDS for more nearly three decades.
“Mr. Oldham’s proven track record of dedication and integrity has engendered trust amongst a variety of governmental and community organizations,” Degonia said.