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Press Release

Former Account Administrator Pleads Guilty to Payroll Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Falsified Payroll Information

            WASHINGTON – Warrenetta Renee Smith, 56, of District Heights, Maryland, pleaded guilty today in Superior Court to one count of First-Degree Fraud for a payroll fraud scheme in which she stole more than $62,000 from her former employer. U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves for the District of Columbia and Chief Robert Contee III of the Metropolitan Police Department made the announcement.

            According to court documents, Smith, who was employed by a Washington, D.C. small business as an account specialist in the company’s accounting department, used her access to the company’s payroll management system to falsify her own payroll information for at least 84 pay periods between July 2018 and May 2020. To perpetuate the scheme, Smith would compile the weekly payroll information for each of the company’s employees to submit for approval by the company’s CFO. However, after receiving the necessary approvals, Smith altered her own approved regular hours, overtime, or leave in the company’s payroll management system, in order to fraudulently increase her pay for the applicable pay period.

            The Honorable Andrea Hertzfeld accepted Smith’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for June 16, 2023. As part of the plea agreement, Smith agreed to pay $35,000 in restitution.

            In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Financial and Cyber Crimes Unit. They also commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin D. Bleiberg for investigating and prosecuting the case.

Updated April 18, 2023

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-207