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Press Release

Housekeeper Pleads Guilty to Stealing $550,000 from Elderly Employer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Dana Morris, 42, of Williamsburg, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of engaging in a monetary transaction involving proceeds of unlawful activity and tax evasion.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Morris acknowledged stealing $558,595.26 from her former employer, an elderly resident of Williamsburg.  Through her work as a housekeeper and a personal assistant, Morris gained access to the victim’s home and personal effects.  Between 2012 and 2014, Morris altered and completely forged 117 checks drawn on her employer’s personal checking account.  Morris deposited all of these checks into her personal checking account and spent all of the stolen money on, among other things, over $445,000 in retail and entertainment items.  In March 2014, Morris and another individual used $27,000 of the stolen money to purchase a new car.  Morris falsely stated her income on her 2012 tax return, failing to report the majority of the stolen money.  Morris evaded the assessment of personal income tax in 2013 and 2014 by failing to file tax returns and filing extensions in which she falsely stated she would owe no tax for each year.

Morris was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 11, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on November 10. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The parties agreed, subject to the approval of the District Court Judge, that her sentence will not exceed 37 months.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Thomas Jankowski, Special Agent in Charge, Washington D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI),  made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Howard J. Zlotnick and Kaitlin C. Gratton are prosecuting the case.  This case was adopted for prosecution through the United States Postal Inspection Service’s Financial Crimes Task Force.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 4:16cr4.

Updated July 15, 2016

Financial Fraud