Jabar and Bowers called the Voice of Women station and asked for up to $ 500,000 to be donated to a non-profit organization they created years earlier to help Kurdish refugees in the upstate. of New York, Opportunities for Kids International. OKI would develop the radio station.
When the case went to trial in 2016, prosecutors alleged that despite strict UN requirements that every dollar of grant must be spent on the project and accounted for, tens of thousands of dollars from the first allocation of the UN’s $ 350,000 went towards personal expenses, including repaying Jabar’s past debts.
Prosecutors told jurors, for example, that Bowers wired $ 1,500 to pay for drugs from a family friend, wrote a check for over $ 7,000 to collect the money she had. already loaned to Jabar and had sent money to Jabar’s personal account so that he could pay his fees. property taxes. Prosecutors said the two men spent more than $ 65,000 on personal expenses, including paying back money Jabar borrowed from friends during a severe financial crisis years earlier.
But while the pair eventually admitted to IRS agents that the grant money was spent on expenses unrelated to the radio station, their lawyers argued that Bowers and Jabar had replaced the money. through other assets or funds that they themselves had raised and spent $ 357,000 for the station. It was operational years before the trial began.
The defense team introduced an accountant to explain the flow of money to the jury. But jurors also heard the UN was unhappy with Bowers and Jabar’s record keeping, declined to award more money, and began investigating.