Former Listen executive director charged with embezzling $230,000

By JOHN LIPPMAN

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 05-11-2023 6:15 PM

CONCORD — Kyle Fisher, the former executive director of nonprofit Listen Community Services, has been indicted and charged with stealing nearly a quarter-million dollars from the Lebanon-based social services organization and using much of the money to gamble, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for New Hampshire said Thursday afternoon.

Fisher, 42, who was placed on leave from Listen in September and resigned in February, embezzled more than $230,000 over a 19-month period in 2021 and 2022 and gambled away “a large amount of the stolen funds” at the MGM casino in Springfield, Mass., according to a news release.

Fisher used his access to Listen’s financial system and “wrote unauthorized checks to himself and transferred funds from the charity’s PayPal account to his own personal bank account” and “created fake invoices and receipts and altered the charity’s accounting records” in an effort to cover his tracks, the government alleges.

He faces four counts of wire fraud, according to the news release, and is scheduled to appear in federal court at a later date.

In a statement late Thursday afternoon, Listen said it was notified of the indictment only hours before it became public and was “saddened to report (it) has been the victim of embezzlement.”

“While we process our disappointment and sadness over this betrayal of trust, we are also incredibly grateful to the authorities that we’ve been working with collaboratively over the past several months. We are confident that their work will bring closure, justice and restitution to our neighbors, volunteers, staff and supporters in the Upper Valley,” the statement said.

Listen said the money that Fisher is alleged to have stolen “did not undermine (the nonprofit’s) financial condition or operations.”

The charge of wire fraud carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.

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Fisher, then a resident of Cornish, was appointed head of Listen in 2016, having initially joined the nonprofit as a volunteer in 2013 before being hired as administrative director. He succeed longtime executive director Marilyn Bourne, who had led Listen for 17 years.

In March, Listen’s board appointed Rob McGregor, a longtime executive with YMCA and YMCA International, as its new executive director.

Thursday’s announcement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office is the second time that Fisher, who formerly lived in Grantham but now according to prosecutors lives in Holly Springs, N.C., has been charged with embezzlement.

In 2012, Fisher, then a resident of Michigan, was charged with a misdemeanor count of embezzling between $200 and $1,000, according to Michigan state court records. He pleaded guilty to embezzling less than $200, court records show.

While living in Cornish in 2014, Fisher filed for bankruptcy, according to U.S. bankruptcy court records.

Jay Benson, chairman of Listen’s board, said in an interview that Fisher’s alleged embezzlement was discovered internally and “immediately reported to the authorities.”

Benson remained optimistic the organization would get the money back.

“We believe we will fully recover what was unlawfully taken,” he said.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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