ROANOKE WOMAN PLEADS TO EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGE
Diane Holdren Admits To Rigging Bids For Work At Valley Metro
ROANOKE, VIRGINIA -- A local interior designer, previously hired by Valley Metro to replace office furniture at its downtown facility, pled guilty this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke to embezzlement charges.
Diane Bogaty Holdren, 51, of Roanoke, Va., waived her right to be indicted last week. This afternoon in District Court, Holdren pled guilty to one count of willfully and knowingly embezzling money from the United States Department of Transportation. At sentencing, the defendant faces a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in prison, a possible fine of up to $250,000 and possible restitution.
“Ms. Holdren defrauded the American taxpayer when she submitted inflated bids to Valley Metro,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “She repeatedly submitted falsified information in an attempt to enrich herself with government money. Her repeated acts of dishonesty and deception have justly earned her a felony conviction. This United States Attorney’s Office will hold accountable any individual who misuses grant funds.”
In 2006, Valley Metro was awarded an $80,000 grant from the United States Department of Transportation to replace furniture at the company’s downtown Roanoke administration building. Valley Metro hired Holdren, a local interior designer, to complete the project.
Holdren admitted today that she fabricated and submitted multiple bids of furniture vendors to Valley Metro in relation to the project. The defendant admitted to fabricating and inflating all vendor bids, thus guaranteeing that Valley Metro would have to pay more than the true costs associated with the project. Following Valley Metro’s acceptance of the bids, Holdren submitted inflated invoices related to the bids that included inflated and nonexistent shipping costs.
Subsequently, Valley Metro paid the furniture vendors directly based on the inflated bills it had received from the defendant. The vendors then issued checks back to Holdren for the difference between the true costs and the costs paid by Valley Metro that were based on the defendant’s deceptions. In all, the total loss caused by the defendant’s actions is between$80,000 and $120,000.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the United States Department of Transportation. Assistant United States Attorneys Charlene Day and C. Patrick Hogeboom III are prosecuting the case for the United States.