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Man who sucked nearly $1.3 million out of the Boston Center for Adult Education gets 18 months in jail; two others still face trial

Mark Mitchell, 53, pleaded guilty Thursday to 18 embezzlement counts for the way he helped drain the Boston Center for Adult Education's coffers during seven years he spent as the non-profit's comptroller, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Michael Doolin then sentenced Mark Mitchell, who is also a former Saugus selectman, to 18 months in jail, followed by three years of probation. He faces a Nov. 9 hearing to determine exactly how much he will have to repay the group, which, not long after his arrest in 2019, got out of the adult-education business and now, with a slightly different name, offers educational guides and consulting.

Two other people, Susan Brown and Karen Kalfian, both of Marblehead, face trial Oct. 10, for also embezzling from the group.

Mitchell formally pleaded guilty to five counts of larceny by scheme, six counts of improper campaign expenditures, three counts of forgery, three counts of false entries in corporate books and one count of publishing false or exaggerated statements.

According to the DA's office:

During his embezzlement scheme, which ran from 2011 to 2018, Mitchell wrote $896,537 in checks to himself. He also wrote $82,510 in checks to the Saugus Wings, an AAU baseball organization which he owned and operated in Saugus, and $242,749 in checks to various unauthorized third-party organizations for his personal benefit and the benefit of his AAU teams. Mitchell also wrote $73,540 in checks to a BCAE instructor, forged her signature, then deposited the funds into his own account.

Mitchell also stole money from campaign funds collected during his successful campaigns for selectman in Saugus.

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These three effectively destroyed a prominent organization in City of Boston life and did so with knowledge they were rendering the organization insolvent. The amount of permanent harm to Boston and its community ought to factor in here.

But longstanding class disparities in our society has always made punishments for crimes of the white collar nature far weaker than non-violent felonies typically associated with poverty.

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