New York The ousted head of a charity for drug-addicted and abandoned babies was charged Tuesday, along with her husband, with misappropriating more than $1 million from the organization.
Lorraine Hale and Jesse DeVore are accused of stealing more than $700,000 from the Hale House Foundation and diverting about $250,000 in charitable donations to a secret checking account.
The couple also allegedly cashed in a $488,000 life insurance plan that was held by the charity.
A 70-count indictment filed by State Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer includes charges of second-degree grand larceny, falsifying business records, forgery and criminal possession of stolen property.
Another two-count indictment against the 75-year-old Hale charges her with grand larceny for the life insurance policy and with offering a false instrument for filing.
Spitzer said that he had also begun a civil forfeiture action to recover the money and has frozen the couple's assets.
Hale and DeVore pleaded innocent Tuesday and were released without bail. They are scheduled to return to court on March 7.
Hale attorney William Dowling called the charges "insulting," while Charles Clayman, an attorney for DeVore, said he was "surprised" because the parties have been in negotiations.
Hale House operates almost entirely on contributions from the public. Founder Clara Hale, Hale's mother, received the Medal of Freedom in 1985 for her work.
Lorraine Hale was removed from the Harlem charity in May for the alleged mismanagement of funds.