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Press Release

Emmett Woman Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Money

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

BOISE – Wendy Ann Payne, 51, of Emmett, Idaho pleaded guilty on May 23, 2017, to theft of government money, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael Gonzalez announced.

According to the plea agreement, Payne’s grandmother was the spouse of a deceased veteran and received monthly benefits from the Veterans Affairs Dependency and Indemnity Compensation program, paid to eligible survivors of military service members or veterans. Payne’s grandmother passed away in 2009, and Payne intentionally failed to inform the Department of Veterans Affairs of her grandmother’s death. Instead, Payne appropriated the benefits intended for her deceased grandmother, knowing that she was not entitled to them. Payne submitted a change of address form that caused that her deceased grandmother’s benefits to be mailed to Payne’s residence. Payne also placed a telephone call to the Department of Veterans Affairs and pretended to be her deceased grandmother. Since 2009, Payne embezzled and stole $91,373.12 from the Department of Veterans Affairs. As part of her plea, Payne also agreed to forfeit at least $91,373.12 and all interest and proceeds consisting of or traceable to the proceeds of the charged offense.


The charge of theft of government money is punishable by up to ten years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release


Sentencing will be August 10, 2017, before Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill.


The case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General.


Public Information Officer
(208) 334-1211

Updated May 25, 2017