News and Press Releases

Fort Pierce Financial Manager and Six Other St. Lucie County Residents Sentenced in $200,000 Mail Fraud Embezzlement Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 25, 2013

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, and Sean Baldwin, Chief, Fort Pierce Police Department (FPPD), announce the sentencing of Erica Gilmore-Grier, 35, of Fort Pierce, for embezzling more than $200,000 from her former employer, Policy Studies, Inc. (PSI), while working as a financial manager for the PSI Call Center in Fort Pierce, Florida. Margo Nickerson, 36, of Fort Pierce, Bridgette Galarza, 31, of Port St. Lucie, Chelsea Durham, 40, of Port St. Lucie, Jessica Harris, 22, of Fort Pierce, Jamile Williams, 34, of Fort Pierce and Venus Holloman, 26, of Fort Pierce, were also sentenced for their roles in the scheme. All of the defendants are St. Lucie County residents.

Gilmore-Grier was sentenced by the U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore to 33 months’ imprisonment; Nickerson was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment; Harris was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment; Holloman was sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment; Galarza was sentenced to 8 months’ imprisonment; Williams was sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment; and Durham was sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment and 4 months’ home detention. All of the defendants will be on supervised release after incarceration, and have been ordered to pay restitution.

From October 2008 to October 2011, PSI was a management company supporting federal and state governments in administering health and human services programs, such as health insurance for low income children, across the United States. One public program administered by PSI was Georgia PeachCare for Kids (GAPC), a children’s health insurance program providing affordable healthcare for children who are Georgia residents and who live in low-income households. PSI’s Fort Pierce Call Center administered the GAPC program. Gilmore-Grier worked as Finance Team Lead at PSI’s Fort Pierce Call Center. Gilmore-Grier was responsible for overseeing the resolution of financial issues on GAPC customer accounts and issuing refunds when customers overpaid their premiums.

From October 2008 to October 2011, Gilmore-Grier authorized fraudulent refund checks for her co-defendants and others, who were not GAPC clients and not entitled to refunds, by claiming that they were legitimate GAPC clients who had inadvertently overpaid their premiums. Based on Gilmore-Grier’s requests, PSI’s main office in Denver, Colorado, issued more than 64 checks to Gilmore-Grier’s friends and family throughout St. Lucie County. Holloman, Nickerson, Galarza, Durham, Harris and Williams were among the individuals who received and cashed checks and split the proceeds with Gilmore-Grier. Gilmore-Grier and others stole approximately $213,147.56 from PSI and GAPC through this scheme.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Secret Service and the Fort Pierce Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaniek Maynard.

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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.

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