HUSBAND AND WIFE PLEAD GUILTY TO ROLES IN CONSPIRACY TO EMBEZZLE FROM CITY OF GARLAND, TEXAS
DALLAS — Two of the seven defendants charged in a conspiracy to embezzle funds from the City of Garland, Texas, Duane Milford Stailey, 44, and his wife, Sharon Ware Stailey, 45, both of Leonard, Texas, pleaded guilty this morning before Chief U.S. District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. They each face a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, they could be ordered to pay restitution. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, 2012, by Judge Fitzwater.
Their guilty pleas follow the recent conviction of Jerry Don Diviney, 69, of Durant, Oklahoma, who also pleaded guilty in early October 2011 to the same offense. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 9, 2012. A former risk management adjustor for the City of Garland, Patricia Leathers, 63, of Rowlett, Texas, pleaded guilty in December 2010 and is presently serving a 57-month sentence in Fort Worth, Texas. Leathers’s sister, Connie M. Powell, 60, of Garland, also pleaded guilty in December last year for her role involving checks exceeding $64,000, resulting in a three-year term of probation. The remaining two defendants, Kenneth Wayne Brown, 50, and his wife, Leah Michele Brown, 46, both of Denison, Texas, are set for trial before Judge Fitzwater on January 30, 2012.
According to documents filed in the cases, Leathers obtained checks issued by the City of Garland by submitting false claims for reimbursement for damage to vehicles, homes, and landscaping purportedly caused by City trucks or employees. Diviney provided Leathers with names and addresses to use for the false claims and deposited or cashed many of the checks. He then shared the proceeds with Leathers. The Staileys negotiated checks payable to themselves and others and returned the bulk of the cash to Diviney and Leathers. Kenneth and Leah Brown are likewise charged with negotiating checks issued in their own names. The total loss to the City has been determined to be $1,968,479.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Garland Police Department, and the Garland Offices of the City Attorney and Internal Auditor. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine Miller and Brian McKay are prosecuting the case.
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