WASHINGTON – A former Mississippi office manager was sentenced today to 89 months in prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Daniel McMullen of the FBI’s Jackson, Miss., Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Mary Lewis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General’s (USDA-OIG) Jackson Field Office.
Cynthia Cooley, of Hattiesburg, Miss., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett in the Southern District of Mississippi. In addition to her prison term, Cooley was sentenced to serve five years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $507,710 in restitution.
Cooley pleaded guilty on Oct. 6, 2011, to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
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 stole more than $500,000 from the USDA and her employer. Cooley concealed her theft by intercepting the mail and altering bank statements.
This case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Tracee Plowell of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Jackson Field Office, USDA-OIG’s Jackson Field Office and the Hattiesburg Police Department.