Ashland Woman Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft
COVINGTON, Ky. – A former office manager for a state child support agency admitted in federal court on Friday that she defrauded a state agency, embezzling significant funds.
Mary Elizabeth Pickett, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, before U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning.
According to Pickett’s plea agreement, between January 4, 2013, and September 20, 2019, while she was the office manager of the Boyd County Child Support Enforcement Office (“BCCSEO”), Pickett misappropriated BCCSEO funds for her own personal use and benefit. As part of Pickett’s scheme to embezzle BCCSEO funds, she submitted false payroll documents to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, falsely reporting that an employee had worked 40 hours per week, when in fact the employee had only worked 14 hours. Pickett then wrote herself checks for the difference. In total, Pickett embezzled $126,313.90. In connection with the scheme, Pickett also admitted to knowingly forging the signature of her supervisor, the contracting official of the BCCSEO, without his knowledge or permission.
Pickett was charged by way of information, waiving her right to indictment by a federal grand jury.
Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; James Robert Brown, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Commissioner Rodney Brewer, Kentucky State Police, jointly announced the guilty plea.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and KSP. The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate K. Smith.
Pickett is scheduled to be sentenced on January 11, 2020, in Ashland. She faces up to 20 years in prison for the mail fraud, a minimum of two years for the identity theft, and a maximum fine of $250,000. However, any sentence will be imposed by the Court, after its consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the applicable federal sentencing statutes.
– END –