Independence Seaport Museum director pleaded guilty to misuse of of museum money

The former director of the Independence Seaport Museum pleaded guilty to charges that he defrauded the institution out of $1.5 million (EUR1.1 million).

John S. Carter, 57, submitted false invoices to get the maritime museum to pay for home improvements, artwork, jewelry, electronics and even a root canal, among other personal expenditures, federal authorities said.

He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick to two counts of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion.

Museum officials say Carter's misuse of museum money dates back to 1997.

Carter's attorney, Mark Cedrone, called his client a "decent and honorable citizen."

"He wants to get this episode behind him," Cedrone said. "Why he engaged in this conduct is a little befuddling."

Carter served as museum president for 17 years before being fired last year. In a lawsuit filed against him in Massachusetts in January, museum officials accused him of defrauding the institution of $2.4 million.

Messages left with Carter's attorney, Mark Cedrone, and federal prosecutors were not immediately returned Monday.