FORMER USDA EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO 40 MONTHS FOR LYING IN ORDER TO SECURE LOANS TO HIDE MORE THAN $600,000 IN THEFTS FROM FEDERALLY FUNDED NON-PROFIT
MONROE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Donna Jean Remides, 52, of Winnsboro, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert G. James to 40 months in prison and five years of supervised release for lying on loan applications in order to receive loans used to hide the theft of $640,000 from a federally funded non-profit. She was also ordered to pay $450,000 in restitution. Remides pleaded guilty June 24, 2013 during the course of a trial.
Witness testimony and documents admitted at trial and the guilty plea revealed that Remides was employed as a project coordinator by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to work for the non-profit Northeast Delta Resource Conservation and Development Council (NDRC&DC) in Winnsboro. From January 2001 to December 2010, Remides used the NDRC&DC accounts to pay herself $640,000 without authorization from the NDRC&DC. She wrote herself and her private business checks during the nearly 10-year period. She also obtained loans in the name of the council to cover the thefts. Loan documents were filled out stating that the council members had authorized loans at meetings when in fact they had not.
The USDA, Office of Inspector General in Jackson, Miss., and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan prosecuted the case.