News and Press Releases

Former Assistant Finance Director at Belle Glade Non-Profit Housing Corporation Sentenced in Embezzlement Case

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 10, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Fernando A. Ramos, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General, and Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), announce today’s sentencing of defendant Vivene Patricia Richards, 54, of Loxahatchee, Florida. U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch sentenced Richards to 13 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

On February 2, 2012, Richards pled guilty to a one-count Information charging her with theft from Noah Development Corporation (NOAH), an organization receiving federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666.

According to documents filed and statements made in court, Richards was the Assistant Director of Finance at NOAH, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provided housing, educational and child development services to low-income residents of the Belle Glades community. To carry out its mission, NOAH is funded by federal, state and private charitable entities.

As Assistant Director of Finance, Richards was responsible for the fiscal management and issuance of funding for all of NOAH’s properties and programs. As part of her plea, she admitted that between 2005 and 2009, she used her position to embezzle approximately $131,094 for herself and others. She further admitted that she personally received or converted to the use of her co-workers and friends more than $73,000 in calendar year 2007.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Public servants have a responsibility to promote and protect the interests of the people whom they represent. This prosecution should serve as a reminder to those who need it that public service is a calling to do for others, not to do for yourself by stealing money earmarked for the underprivileged.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of HUD Office of the Inspector General and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolyn Bell and Shaniek Maynard.

Return to Top

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

United States Attorneys 225th Anniversary
USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Stay Connected: Visit us on Twitter
What Makes Schools Safer? Using science to discover what works. Federal funding available. Visit NIJ.gov, keywords: 'comprehensive school safety intiative'
Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.