A June 17 article about an Alexandria businesswoman who was charged with fraud incorrectly stated that Karen A. McRae was a finance director and consultant for the Carol Moseley Braun campaign from March to May 2003. She was not a paid consultant or finance director, campaign aide Kevin Lampe said. (Published 6/21/04)
An Alexandria businesswoman who serves on a state advisory board has been charged with credit card fraud and providing false information to secure thousands of dollars in credit, law enforcement officials said yesterday.
Karen A. McRae, 43, was charged Tuesday with seven counts of fraud and was being held yesterday without bond at the city jail.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Elliott J. Casey said McRae obtained credit totaling $19,109 from PCI Communications and $8,931 in office rental property from HQ Global Inc. by making false statements. Casey said she also fraudulently secured $24,077 in credit and ran up more than $4,500 in unpaid hotel bills.
"She has defrauded dozens of people in the past," Casey said yesterday.
"We heartily dispute everything," said McRae's attorney, William L. Rhode, who said he could not comment on the specific charges. He said a bond hearing is scheduled for today.
Casey said Alexandria police also are investigating more than $100,000 in bad checks McRae allegedly wrote between 2001 and this year, including $30,000 to singer Roberta Flack for her performance at a fundraising event at the Masonic Temple last year that McRae helped organize. The event was to raise money for a scholarship fund "and other nonprofit organizations otherwise not identified," Elliot Hoffman, Flack's attorney, said.
Hoffman said that McRae issued three checks to Flack and her agencies "and they turned out to be totally bogus for insufficient funds." At the event, Hoffman said, Flack was presented with the key to the city by Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille (D).
"That's all she got to show for her efforts," Hoffman said of Flack. "Not that she wasn't honored to receive the key." When the checks bounced, Hoffman said, Flack and her agencies turned the matter over to Alexandria police.
McRae described herself as a consultant, Casey said. In 2002, Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) appointed her to the Small Business Advisory Board. She is listed with the advisory board as a managing partner of Tucker McKenzie Group.
The board advises the Virginia Department of Business Assistance and recommends ways to enhance the growth of small businesses, said Kevin Hall, deputy spokesman for Warner. The board's 14 members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. Most appointees are recommended by elected officials or business and community leaders, Hall said. McRae's term expires June 2006.
"She has the presumption of innocence," Hall said. "We are not asking her to step down from this board at this time."
She also was appointed to the city's Economic Opportunities Commission, which develops and recommends programs to aid low-income residents.
In addition, records for the defunct presidential campaign of Carol Moseley Braun list McRae as finance director and consultant from March 28 to May of last year.