By Associated Press - Tuesday, March 23, 2021

SALEM, Mass. (AP) - The former head of Marblehead’s METCO program charged with stealing from a fund meant to be used for students in need has admitted to sufficient facts and the case could be dismissed if he complies with conditions of probation for a year.

Francois Fils-Aime, 48, used the fund built with donations to pay restaurant tabs and for contributions to charities, churches and political campaigns, prosecutors said.

Fils-Aime admitted to sufficient facts for a guilty finding to two counts of larceny Monday in Salem Superior Court, where a judge granted a continuation without a finding, The Salem News reported.

Fils-Aime will spend a year on unsupervised probation, must perform 100 hours of community service, and pay $10,000 in restitution. If he complies with the conditions and stays out of further trouble the charges will be dismissed.

The METCO program, or Metropolitan Council on Educational Opportunity, brings children from the city to attend classes at better funded suburban schools.

Fils-Aime mispent more than $10,000 of the fund’s money over a period of several years, prosecutors said.

Richard Gedeon, Fils-Aime’s lawyer, called his client a “trustworthy person” who had made some mistakes.

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