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April 07, 2016

Report: Quakertown man swindles more than $2.4M from Lehigh University frats, sororities

A Quakertown man was indicted Thursday after law enforcement officials said he defrauded fraternities and sororities at Bethlehem's Lehigh University to the tune of more than $2.4 million. 

United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, announced Thursday that Albert Fisher, 76, of Quakertown, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud, and five counts of subscribing to false tax returns for his role in scamming fraternities, sororities and fraternity alumni associations at Lehigh University.

Memeger's office released information noting that between 2009 and 2013, Fisher -- along with an individual who is not named in the indictment -- operated Bethlehem-based Fraternity Management Association and allegedly created a fictitious consulting company known as “Fisher and Associates." 

According to the indictment, Fisher and the unnamed individual -- who served as FMA’s executive director -- conspired to take money from fraternities and sororities as payment for future services.

These funds, the indictment notes, were intended to pay for the operations and upkeep of the fraternities and sororities, including food services and the financial management of expenses. 

However, instead of paying for the services, Fisher and the unnamed executive director allegedly misappropriated more than $1.4 million in funds from victims, the indictment reads.

Court documents note that the pair used this money for personal purposes, spending the money on vacations, home furnishings and designer clothing.  

The indictment notes that Fisher lied to victims about the whereabouts of the money. When FMA ceased operations during the spring of 2014, the scam cost victims an additional $990,157 in expenses when fraternities, sororities and other victims, including Lehigh University, had to find new providers for the services they never received. 

Also, court documents claim that between 2009 and 2013, Fisher filed tax returns which failed to report $614,398 in income.    

If convicted, Fisher faces a possible maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and up to three years probation. He could also be required to pay restitution costs, a fine, and a $700 special assessment.