Howard Dixon Slingerland faces up to 10 years in federal prison
By Sam Catanzaro
The former president and CEO of the defunct local anti-poverty nonprofit agency Youth Policy Institute has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges for embezzling money from the nonprofit for his personal benefit, including paying for his property tax bill and spending over $6,000 for a family dinner.
Howard Dixon Slingerland, 53, from Studio City, agreed to plead guilty this week to two-count information which accuses him of illegally converting and misapplying funds from an organization receiving federal money, as well as filing a false federal income tax return. The information and plea agreement were filed Tuesday in a U.S. District Court and Slingerland will appear in court in the coming weeks.
According to his plea agreement, from 1996 until he was fired in September 2019, Slingerland was the president and CEO of Youth Policy Institute Inc. (YPI), a Hollywood-based nonprofit agency that worked to eradicate poverty in some of the highest-needs neighborhoods in Los Angeles with a comprehensive approach addressing education, youth development, safety, job training, and health and wellness. YPI closed in 2019 due to financial management, largely at the hands of Slingerland
In these roles, Slingerland had check-signing authority over YPI’s bank accounts and was the personal guarantor of YPI’s credit card.
From January 2015 to February 2019, Slingerland spent at least $71,533 of YPI funds on unauthorized expenditures, including Slingerland’s personal property tax bill that exceeded $14,000, more than $6,000 for a family dinner at a New York City restaurant, nearly $11,000 for a family member’s tutoring, and nearly $2,000 on a home computer and software.
According to prosecutors, in July 2019, Slingerland approved $401,561 in funds YPI had received from a federal grant to be used for the unauthorized payment of YPI payroll. That same month, he also used $201,466 in federal grant money to be illegally used to pay off YPI’s credit card bill, including for expenses Slingerland had incurred.
Slingerland also admitted to underreporting income by more than $100,000 per year for 2015-2018 on his federal tax returns. This included embezzled money from YPI. He admitted to owing the US Treasury around $147,398 in unpaid taxes, not including penalties and interest).
After Slingerland enters his guilty plea, he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison on the conversion count and three years in federal prison on the tax count.