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From the Dallas Morning News:
Former Garland official pleads guilty in $1.9 million phony-claims plot
03:01 PM CST on Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By RICHARD ABSHIRE / The Dallas Morning News
A former Garland city official pleaded guilty today to conspiring to steal money from programs that receive federal funds.
The conspiracy involved the submission of bogus damage claims to the City of Garland.
Patsy Leathers, a former risk management adjustor in Garland, entered the guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater. She faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. She is to be sentenced by Fitzwater in March.
In her plea agreement, Leathers, 62, admitted that she conspired with others – who were not identified in the agreement -- to embezzle about $1.9 million over a 14-year period that began in 1994 and ended with her arrest in 2008.
Leathers was responsible for investigating and resolving liability claims made against Garland. According to court documents, she and her co-conspirators create phony claims for damage and repairs to personal and real property. When checks were issued to cover the phony claims, the documents said, the proceeds were shared with Leathers.
Last week, her sister, 59-year-old Connie M. Powell of Garland, pleaded guilty to a role in the conspiracy. She, too, faces a maximum sentence of five years and a sentencing in March.
No mention was made in Fitzwater's court of two men who were arrested with Leathers on related charges: Duane Stailey and Jerry Diviney.
Federal authorities said their investigation into the phony-claims ring is continuing.
|This report is based on a press release today from the US Attorney's office and marks over two years of investigation by Garland's City Auditor, Finance Dept, and Police Dept, and then the FBI.|
Earlier reports on this blog were posted March 26, 2008, May 22, 2008, May 23, 2008, and May 30, 2008.
Several other individuals believed involved in the scam have yet to appear in court and plea. While those cases are still pending, don't expect much comment from city officials. But once they are concluded, the city will definitely have more to report.
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