Former USDA employee gets time for stealing $500,000

From The Mississippi Link Newswire

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A former office manager has been sentenced to 89 months in prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Cynthia Cooley, of Hattiesburg, was given the sentence after she embezzled more than $500,000 from the USDA Rural Development and her employer.

Cooley was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett, on March 1 in the Southern District of Mississippi. In addition to her prison term, Cooley was sentenced to serve five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $507,710 in restitution.

According to court documents, beginning in at least 2008 and continuing until September 2010, Cooley embezzled funds controlled by the USDA Rural Development Program using her employer’s bank accounts.

As part of the scheme, Cooley stole her employer’s personal funds and fraudulently opened a credit card using her employer’s personal identifiers.

Cooley concealed her theft by intercepting the mail and altering bank statements.

Cooley pleaded guilty on Oct. 6, 2011, to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.