A Denver jury has convicted a Castle Rock man of stealing more than $1 million from two charities that raise money for children’s hospitals.
William Schwartz, 44, was convicted Friday of two counts of felony theft after a five-day trial. Denver District Court Judge Adam Espinosa will sentence Schwartz on Aug. 18.
Schwartz’s attorney, Richard Tegtmeier, did not respond to a request for comment on the verdict Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
A Denver grand jury indicted Schwartz in April 2022 on the two theft counts, along with a charge of money laundering. The money-laundering charge was later dismissed.
Prosecutors alleged that while he was treasurer of the El Jebel Shrine Association in Denver from 2014 to 2019, Schwartz moved more than $1.2 million that had been earmarked for the fraternal organization and Shriners Hospitals for Children to bank accounts for his companies.
One company was YOLO Holdings. YOLO is commonly used as an acronym for “You Only Live Once,” a phrase that stresses the importance of carefree adventure and guiltless living.
“We recognize that all humans are fallible and at times the actions of a member may fall below the expectations of our organization,” El Jebel wrote in a statement to BusinessDen. “We believe that the actions taken by the Denver court were appropriate and just.”
Then, in 2019, Schwartz became treasurer of the Order of Quetzalcoatl, a Masonic group that also sends money to Shriners hospitals. Schwartz stole more than $250,000 from the order, prosecutors alleged. Jurors convicted him of stealing between $100,000 and $1 million.
On May 17, Schwartz asked the Colorado Supreme Court to consider whether the theft charges should be dropped because they were filed outside a statute of limitations. Prosecutors argued they were not because the thefts were not discovered until years after they occurred. On May 18, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case and Schwartz’s trial began May 22.
Last week’s trial does not end Schwartz’s legal problems. In February, he was charged with one felony count of tax evasion and four felony counts of filing a false tax return between 2017 and 2020. The indictment doesn’t say whether those charges relate to the charity thefts.
Meanwhile, the Order of Quetzalcoatl is suing Schwartz in Douglas County in an attempt to recoup the $341,000 that it said he took. An eight-day trial is scheduled for December.