Former Velda City Treasurer Sentenced to Federal Prison for Stealing $400,000 in City Funds, and Stealing $150,000 from a Charity
St. Louis, MO –Venita Sedodo, 32, of St. Charles, Missouri, was sentenced to 40 months in prison for wire fraud related to her former position as Treasurer of Velda City, Missouri, and mail fraud related to her former position as Trust Secretary for the Travelers Protective Association of America, Scholarship Trust for the Hearing Impaired. She appeared in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark, Sr. who also ordered Sedodo to pay $552,443.83 in restitution to the victims.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Sedodo served as the Treasurer for Velda City, Missouri. From November, 2015 through October, 2018, Sedodo schemed to steal approximately $400,000 from the city. During that time, Sedodo issued approximately 90 unauthorized Velda City checks to herself, which she deposited into several of her personal bank accounts. Sedodo spent the stolen funds on personal items and services such as clothing, automobile payments, as well as making numerous cash withdrawals. Sedodo also issued unauthorized Velda City checks directly to a number of businesses to pay for personal items and services. Further, Sedodo made numerous unauthorized ACH wire transmissions of funds from Velda City bank accounts to pay for personal items and services at businesses such as BMW, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Commerce Bank to pay off charges on her personal credit cards. Altogether, Sedodo’s fraud scheme netted her approximately $400,000 in funds stolen from Velda City.
Sedodo was also employed as the Trust Secretary for the Travelers Protective Association of America, Scholarship Trust for the Hearing Impaired (“TPA Scholarship Trust”). This is a charitable organization which provides financial aid to individuals with deafness or hearing deficiencies. From June, 2014, through January, 2019, Sedodo submitted false and fraudulent grant applications for her family members and friends to the charity’s Board of Trustees. These grant applications falsely claimed that the individual applicants suffered from deafness or hearing impairment, and Sedodo created and submitted along with the applications false audiograms and audiological evaluations. Sedodo did not advise the Board of Trustees that the individual applicants were her family members and friends. Once the Board of Trustees unwittingly approved the grant applications, Sedodo processed and issued checks to the individual applicants, who then cashed the checks and split the proceeds with Sedodo. None of the grant funds were used for legitimate health care or treatment related to deafness or hearing impairment, but were used by Sedodo and her family and friends for their own personal use and expenses. The charity was unable to fund many legitimate grant applications during the period of Sedodo’s criminal scheme due to the lack of funds as a result of Sedodo’s conduct. Sedodo obtained approximately $156,100 from TPA Scholarship Trust through her fraudulent scheme.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case, with the assistance of the Velda City Police Department. The Board of Trustees for the Travelers Protective Association, Scholarship Trust for the Hearing Impaired also provided substantial assistance and cooperation during the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith handled the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.