SF gay biz association president indicted on fraud charges

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Tuesday July 2, 2024
Share this Post:
Tony Archuleta-Perkins, the president of the Golden Gate Business Association, has been indicted on fraud charges related to law firms he worked for. Photo: From GGBA's FB page
Tony Archuleta-Perkins, the president of the Golden Gate Business Association, has been indicted on fraud charges related to law firms he worked for. Photo: From GGBA's FB page

A federal grand jury has returned a fraud indictment against the president of America's first LGBTQ chamber of commerce related to the alleged embezzlement of over $1 million from law firms he worked for.

Tony Archuleta-Perkins, 48, had been the president of the Golden Gate Business Association since 2022. He was indicted June 26 on eight counts of bank fraud, eight counts of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, and a forfeiture allegation. Archuleta-Perkins was arrested July 1, according to a news release from the United States Attorney's office for the Northern District of California. He's alleged to have embezzled over $1.2 million from local law firms he worked for.

The GGBA, which was founded in 1974, is the San Francisco Bay Area's LGBTQ chamber of commerce. The association, which Archuleta-Perkins has been with in a volunteer position since 2018 (when he was treasurer for four years before his time as president, according to his LinkedIn profile), was not mentioned in the indictment.

In a statement July 3, the association's board stated Archuleta-Perkins had resigned. GGBA became aware "when the local news broke the story."

"The board immediately accepted the resignation of Mr. Archuleta-Perkins from the position of president and removed all of his financial- and decision-making powers," the statement read. "The board subsequently appointed GGBA board member Nancy J Geenen to the role of acting president. Ms. Geenen and other board members have been working with Mr. Archuleta-Perkins in a limited role to ensure administration of the organization is fully transferred."

The statement continued that there'll be a full audit and investigation of GGBA's finances "out of prudence and caution." The audit, to be conducted by an outside third party, is expected to take several months, according to the statement.

"We will provide updates relevant to the audit and investigation of GGBA finances as they become available," the statement continued. "We will not comment on the indictment or the status of Mr. Archuleta-Perkins."

Archuleta-Perkins did not return a LinkedIn message from the B.A.R. seeking comment.

His attorney, Ken White of Brown White and Osborn LLP, reached out to the B.A.R. after the LinkedIn message stating, "We will be addressing the government's allegations against Mr. Archuleta-Perkins in court and will have no further comment."

According to prosecutors, Archuleta-Perkins started a nonprofit entitled Murrieta Valley High School 1994, or MVHS 1994, in 2013. From 2017-2023, he worked for two law firms in various roles, eventually becoming the chief financial officer of one of them (the Veen Firm, according to his LinkedIn, as the firms are not identified in the indictment).

"As the CFO, Archuleta-Perkins was in a position of trust and had access to the law firms' end-to-end payments automation platform," the release stated. "The indictment alleges that from at least May 2018 through December 2023, Archuleta-Perkins used the access he had as an employee in a position of trust at the law firms to cause the law firms to make false and fraudulent payments to MVHS 1994 that had not been authorized by the law firms' management and were not for any legitimate business purpose."

These included a $41,663.69 made out to one of the firms, which he deposited into an MVHS 1994 account, from which he wrote a check to himself in the same amount, prosecutors stated.

"The indictment further alleges that Archuleta-Perkins used the stolen money for personal expenses, including payments on Best Buy and Home Depot credit cards, and towards the purchase, renovation, and improvement of at least three properties in California," the news release stated.

Archuleta-Perkins appeared in federal court July 1 and was released pending trial on a $500,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 31.

Archuleta-Perkins wrote a piece in the San Francisco Bay Times LGBTQ newspaper, including in the most recent issue titled "What Pride Means to Me." Bay Times publisher Betty Sullivan told the B.A.R. that she wanted to "clarify for you that Tony does not have a column in our newspaper."

Sullivan said that GGBA has a page in the Bay Times that has been running since 2018. "That is a feature of GGBA — it is not of Tony," she said. "It has several parts to it. One part is a statement of leadership — anybody who they choose to have say something. This is not Tony's column. It never has been."

Asked if Archuleta-Perkins' work would be featured on the page again, Sullivan said "that's up to the board, because they are the ones who have that feature with us."

Sullivan added that GGBA is a "long-standing and important organization," and that it has been "going on now way before Tony became president."

Archuleta-Perkins is also the sitting treasurer of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance. The alliance did not return a request for comment.

Updated, 7/2/24; This article has been updated with comments from Bay Times publisher Betty Sullivan clarifying that Mr. Archuleta-Perkins doesn't have a column in the paper. Rather, the paper features content that GGBA provides and it chooses who writes the pieces.

Updated, 7/3/24: This article has been updated with a statement from GGBA.

Never miss a story! Keep up to date on the latest news, arts, politics, entertainment, and nightlife.

Sign up for the Bay Area Reporter's free weekday email newsletter. You'll receive our newsletters and special offers from our community partners.

Support California's largest LGBTQ newsroom. Your one-time, monthly, or annual contribution advocates for LGBTQ communities. Amplify a trusted voice providing news, information, and cultural coverage to all members of our community, regardless of their ability to pay -- Donate today!