Former boxer Keely Thompson charged with fraudulently spending $500,000 in D.C. anti-gang funds

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 19, 2010; 12:49 AM

Agents with the FBI and D.C. inspector general's office arrested a former professional boxer Thursday in Prince George's County on charges that he stole more than $500,000 from his anti-gang youth boxing center in the District.

Keely E. Thompson, Jr., 45, was picked up shortly after 9 a.m. at his home in Accokeek and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay. He was charged with one count of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney for the District Ronald C. Machen Jr. said. A conviction on the charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Thompson was not required to enter a plea and was released until a Dec. 9 hearing.

A well-known D.C. boxer who fought professionally as a lightweight in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Thompson was executive director of Keely's District Boxing and Youth Center in Columbia Heights and Kenilworth.

The center, serving youths from ages 8 to 18, has received more than $1.4 million in District funds for at-risk children since 2004.

Prosecutors charged that between 2004 and 2010, Thompson used the boxing center's debit card to spend $150,000 on cruises and gambling in Atlantic City, losing more than $140,000 at Bally's casino alone.

In addition to drawing an average annual salary of $55,000 over six years, Thompson also cashed $355,210 in checks from the center with no legitimate business purpose, according to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent James M. Price.

"I used the money in the wrong way. I done it and I can't change it," Thompson told Price in August, the agent wrote in the affidavit.

Thompson, dressed in a black Sean John track suit, was represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender David Bos. He said little at the hearing, except that he had contacted former D.C. Democratic Party chairman and criminal defense lawyer A. Scott Bolden to help him find a lawyer whom Thompson could afford.

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