STUDIO CITY—On January 17, Howard “Dixon” Slingerland, 53, pleaded guilty to a misuse of funds intended to benefit The Youth Policy Institute, a Hollywood based non-profit that aides poverty-stricken youth in the Los Angeles area. Slingerland is the former fundraiser for Barack Obama, and former CEO of, YPI, as President from 1996 until his firing in 2019.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Slingerland “plead guilty to federal criminal charges for embezzling money from the nonprofit for his personal benefit and intentionally misapplying more than $600,000 in grant money to pay for unauthorized expenses and lying on his tax returns.”

Slingerland is expected to make his initial court appearance in the coming weeks.

The Hollywood non-profit’s work was to eradicate poverty in some of the highest-needs neighborhoods in Los Angeles by using a comprehensive approach of education, youth development, safety, job training, health, and wellness.

The DOJ reported that Slingerland had check-signing authority over the YPI’s bank accounts, as he was the personal guarantor of their credit card. Between January 2015 and February 2019, Slingerland had at least $71,533 of YPI funds spent on unauthorized expenditures including his own property tax bill that was over $14,000, a $6,000 family dinner at an upscale New York City restaurant, close to $11,000 for educational tutoring for family members, and $2,000 in-home computer software.

In July 2019, he  allowed approximately $401,561 in funds from YPI’s federal grants to be used for the unauthorized use of payroll expenses. An additional $201,466 federal grant was used to pay YPI’s credit card bill, some of which were expenses incurred by Slingerland.

He admitted in his plea agreement he underreported his individual federal income tax returns by more than $1,00,000 each year between 2015 and 2018. He did this by not reporting the funds obtained from YPI through embezzlement.

Slingerland admitted to owing the US Treasury approximately $147,398 in unpaid taxes not including penalties and interest. After entering his guilty plea, he will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for the conversion count and an additional three years of prison time on the tax count.

“IRS Criminal Investigation; the FBI; the United States Department of Labor Office of Inspector General; the United States Department of Education Office of Inspector General; the United States Department of Justice Office of Inspector General; and the Los Angeles Unified School District investigated this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Ranee A. Katzenstein, Chief of the Major Frauds Section, is prosecuting this case,” stated the DOJ.