BCAE Comptroller Pleads Guilty to $1.3 Million Embezzlement Scheme

A former Saugus selectman pleaded guilty Thursday in Suffolk Superior Court to 18 counts of forgery, larceny and other charges in a scheme that embezzled nearly $1.3 million from the Boston Center for Adult Education, where he was comptroller, District Attorney Kevin Hayden announced.

Mark D. Mitchell, 53, pleaded guilty to five counts of larceny by scheme, six counts of improper campaign expenditures, three counts of forgery, three counts of false entries in corporate books and one count of publishing false or exaggerated statements.

Judge Michael Doolin sentenced Mitchell to 18 months in the House of Correction followed by three years of probation upon release.  Doolin also ordered Mitchell to pay restitution.  The amount to be paid will be determined at a November 9 restitution hearing. 

Two of Michell’s co-defendants, Susan Brown, 70, and Karen Kalfian, 66, both of Marblehead, are scheduled for trial on October 10. Brown is accused of authorizing $565,000 in checks to Kalfian between 2009 and 2018, when Brown served as executive director of BCAE. Kalfian served as a marketing employee for a portion of that time. 

During his embezzlement scheme, which ran from 2011 to 2018, Mitchell wrote $896,537 in checks to himself.  He also wrote $82,510 in checks to the Saugus Wings, an AAU baseball organization which he owned and operated in Saugus, and $242,749 in checks to various unauthorized third-party organizations for his personal benefit and the benefit of his AAU teams. Mitchell also wrote $73,540 in checks to a BCAE instructor, forged her signature, then deposited the funds into his own account.

Mitchell also stole money from campaign funds collected during his successful campaigns for selectman in Saugus.

“The scope of this scheme is made more contemptible when one considers the organization it victimized—an organization that has provided educational benefits to tens of thousands of adults since it was founded nearly a century ago.  This calculated theft struck at the heart of the BCAE’s ability to do what it does so well and has done for so long.  Mr. Mitchell’s plea is only the beginning of the reparations that are justified in this shameful breach of fiduciary and civic trust,” Hayden said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden’s office serves the communities of Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop, Mass. The office handles over 20,000 cases a year. More than 160 attorneys in the office practice in nine district and municipal courts, Suffolk Superior Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court, and the Boston Juvenile Courts. The office employs some 300 people and offers a wide range of services and programs to serve anyone who comes in contact with the criminal justice system. This office is committed to educating the public about the services we provide, our commitment to crime prevention, and our dedication to keeping the residents of Suffolk County safe.

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