FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 11, 2012
For Information Contact:
Former Office Manager Sentenced to 20 Months In Prison
In $217,000 Scam Against a Federal Government Commission
- Defendant Was to Manage Expenses, But Used Money for Personal Items -
WASHINGTON - Carmelita Hines, 48, of Waldorf, Maryland, was sentenced today to a 20-month prison term on a charge of wire fraud in an embezzlement scheme that cost her former employer more than $200,000, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Hines pled guilty in February 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She was sentenced today by the Honorable Ellen S. Huvelle. Judge Huvelle ordered Hines to pay $217,074 in restitution and an equal amount in forfeiture. Upon completion of her prison term, Hines will be placed on three years of supervised release. During that time, she must perform 200 hours of community service.
According to a Statement of Offense presented to the court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Schornstein, Hines worked from 2003 until 2011 as office operations manager for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress. Her duties included, among other things, managing the procession, tracking and expenses of the commission’s expenses and other finances.
From 2007 until 2011, Hines repeatedly used credit card accounts in the name of the commission and in her own name, on behalf of the commission, to embezzle $217,074. She used the accounts to charge $146,008 in personal expenses and to make $71,066 in cash withdrawals for her personal benefit. The personal expenses included assorted gift cards, computer equipment, automobile GPS systems, an iPod Nano, gasoline, cosmetics, movie tickets, investment in a “get-rich-quick” scheme, and other items.
Hines used her position to conceal her embezzlement and fraud. Among other things, she altered credit card statements and certified documents to hide the crimes.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen and Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin praised those who worked on the case, including the Special Agents of the FBI’s Washington Field Office as well as former Legal Assistant Jared Forney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. They also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Schornstein, who prosecuted the case.