Former school official charged with stealing anti-poverty funds

Feb 6, 2015

A former administrator at the Buffalo Board of Education has been charged with stealing funds.

Debbie Buckley was in charge of overseeing state and federal grants to the school district, including money set aside to help children from low-income families.

U.S. Attorney William Hochul says the 54-year-old Niagara Falls woman stands accused of "lining her pockets and those of her son with money targeted to assist school kids." If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Buckley's son, Hassan El Saddique, has also been indicted on charges of theft of government funds. Investigators claim Buckley diverted funds to a company that her son was involved in.

“Two people from the same family ripping off Title I funding,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul in a news conference Friday afternoon. "The money that Mr. Saddique was getting paid was, in fact, going into Ms. Buckley's bank accounts."

Buckley and El Saddique appeared in court Friday. They were released on bond. Holly Hubert, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Buffalo division, says the investigation is continuing.