Ex-Springfield charity executive pleads guilty in connection to multi-million embezzlement scheme

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (News Release) -- A former executive of a Springfield, Mo., charity pleaded guilty in federal court to misprision of a felony in connection with the concealment of a multi-million-dollar scheme by which other charity executives embezzled and diverted millions of dollars from the Springfield nonprofit corporation.

Keith Fraser Noble, 68, of Rogersville, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to one count of concealment of a known felony. Noble was an executive at Preferred Family Healthcare Inc. (formerly known as Alternative Opportunities Inc.), a nonprofit corporation headquartered in Springfield, and oversaw the charity’s clinical operations, quality control matters, and clinical and medical grant proposals. Noble also was a licensed psychologist and certified substance abuse counselor.

By pleading guilty yesterday, Noble admitted he knew three other Preferred Family Healthcare executives conspired and agreed with one another to embezzle, steal, and misapply millions of dollars in charity funds. Noble admitted he knew about the others’ thefts and willfully blinded himself to the details of their schemes while reaping the benefits. Further, Noble admitted that despite his duty to do so, he did not inform the charity’s board of directors of the embezzlement, nor did he report the crimes to law enforcement. Finally, Noble acknowledged he aided the conspirators in concealing their crimes by preparing and causing to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant applications that falsely certified the charity’s compliance with federal restrictions on lobbying.

The information alleges the conspirators embezzled, stole, and misapplied funds totaling more than $30 million. Noble acknowledged his share of that came to $4,323,107.30, which he agreed to pay in restitution, less the amount of taxes paid on the income.

Under federal statutes, Noble is subject to a sentence of up to three years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.

The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the Offices of the Inspectors General from the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Justice, and Veterans Affairs. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich of the Western District of Missouri.