Former NRA executive pleads guilty to fraud, agrees to testify

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(NEW YORK) — Former National Rifle Association operations director Joshua Powell has settled civil claims of fraud and abuse brought by the New York Attorney General’s office.

The admission comes hours after Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president of the NRA, announced his resignation ahead of a trial scheduled to begin Monday. LaPierre cited health reasons, according to the NRA. The resignation will be effective Jan. 31.

Powell was employed by the NRA from 2016 through January 2020 and in that time “Powell breached his fiduciary duties and failed to administer the charitable assets entrusted to his care by using his powers as an officer and senior executive of the NRA to convert charitable assets for his own benefit and for the benefit of his family members,” the settlement agreement said.

“Joshua Powell’s admission of wrongdoing and Wayne LaPierre’s resignation confirm what we have alleged for years: the NRA and its senior leaders are financially corrupt,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement Saturday.

The attorney general is suing the NRA, which is registered in New York as a non-profit charitable corporation, and its senior management for misappropriating millions of dollars to fund personal benefits, including private jets, family vacations and luxury goods.

The NRA tried to file bankruptcy in 2021 but a federal judge rejected its petition, saying “the NRA did not file the bankruptcy petition in good faith.”

James’ lawsuit seeks an independent monitor to oversee the NRA’s finances.

As part of his settlement, Powell admitted he breached his fiduciary duties of care, loyalty and obedience by using the NRA’s charitable assets for his own benefit and the benefit of his family. He also admitted he failed to administer the charitable assets entrusted to his care properly.

He agreed to pay $100,000 in restitution and accept a permanent bar from serving as an officer in a nonprofit. He also agreed to testify against LaPierre and others at trial.

LaPierre previously said the New York AG’s lawsuit was an “unconstitutional, premeditated attack aiming to dismantle and destroy the NRA — the fiercest defender of America’s freedom at the ballot box for decades.”
 

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