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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 16, 2014

District Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Over $193,000 In Four-Year Scheme Against Charitable Organization-Used Money For Vacations, Personal Training, Other Personal Expenses-

     WASHINGTON – Maria Herrmann, 53, of Washington, D.C., pled guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of wire fraud related to her embezzlement of over $193,000 from a charitable organization from 2004 through 2008. 

     The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Gary R. Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

     Herrmann is to be sentenced on Sept. 4, 2014, before the Honorable James E. Boasberg.  On the wire fraud charge, she faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  In addition, as part of her guilty plea, Herrmann agreed to forfeit the amount of her fraudulent proceeds, $193,770, and pay the same amount in restitution to the charitable foundation.

     As part of her guilty plea, Herrmann admitted that, between May 2004 and June 2008, she operated an on-line “e-store” with operations meant to raise funds for a non-profit charitable organization.  To raise funds, the e-store auctioned various donated goods and services, as well as travel and vacation packages.  Herrmann admitted to embezzling over $193,000 by wiring herself funds from the charity’s account, by using the e-store account to pay for personal purchases, and by other means. 

     Herrmann admitted using the charity’s funds to pay for vacations, personal training, pet care and pet supplies, and gourmet coffee, among other things.  Finally, Herrmann admitted disguising her embezzlement from the charity by underreporting the e-store’s revenue.

     In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Machen and Inspector in Charge Barksdale expressed appreciation for the work done by those who investigated the case from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. They also commended the work of those who handled the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Krishawn Graham and Donna Galindo, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Hooks, who investigated and prosecuted the case.

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Updated February 19, 2015