New York — A New York man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal conspiracy to defraud the city’s homeless shelters, authorities said.
Sgt. Paul Whelan of the FBI’s New York field office told a Brooklyn federal court that he was conducting a criminal investigation after he observed an online conversation with an alleged offender in March, according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
In the conversation, the man allegedly described how he was going to “buy a pizza” from a homeless shelter.
Whelans investigation revealed that the alleged offender, who was identified only as John Doe in court papers, had “agreed to buy $1,000 worth of pizza,” the statement said.
“John Doe agreed to pay $1.15 for the pizza and then, with the intention of defrauding the City of New Yorks homeless shelters of the $1 million in food provided to the shelter, agreed to purchase a pizza,” Whelann said.
Whelan said he contacted the city shelter’s administrator to alert him about the plan, but that the administrator told him “he had no idea where the pizza was coming from, and had not been notified by the homeless shelter that he had made an offer to purchase pizza.”
The man allegedly agreed to the plan after a series of emails from the alleged seller, who said he would be “delivering pizzas to the homeless shelters.”
“John was going on and on about his plan,” Wheran said.
“I told him to call me, and he did.
He agreed to deliver pizza to the shelters and then call me back.”
Whelans office said that Whelanism did not find the alleged crime to be an ongoing investigation and that he did not seek any additional information from the man, who is not currently facing any criminal charges.