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Press Release

Former Pinellas County Housing Authority Employee Pleads Guilty

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

Tampa, FL - Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Keomala Phandara Khammanivong (32, St. Petersburg) today pleaded guilty to charges of stealing and embezzling funds from the Pinellas County Housing Authority. She faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.

According to the facts presented at the plea hearing, Khammanivong was employed as a “Cashier/Clerk Typist” by the Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) at the French Villas in St. Petersburg, from July 7, 2008 to August 8, 2012. In that job position, Khammanivong was responsible for a variety of tasks, which included receiving, counting, and balancing payments of rent made by the tenants, issuing receipts to tenants; and making daily bank deposits. During this time, Khammanivong received money orders from various PCHA tenants and either altered or wrote out the money orders in her name. She then deposited these altered or fraudulent money orders in her personal bank account, instead of depositing the funds in the PCHA accounts. Over this time period, Khammanivong stole a total of $23,126, from the Pinellas County Housing Authority and spent these funds for her personal use.

This case was investigated by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kelley C. Howard-Allen.

Updated January 26, 2015