Citrus County Man Pleads Guilty To Receiving Stolen Benefit Payments From The Department Of Veterans Affairs
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Pamela Smith (60, Winter Park) to three years in federal prison for wire fraud. As part of her sentence, the court also entered an order of forfeiture in the amount of $500,000, the proceeds of the offense. The court also entered an order of forfeiture for Smith’s residence, which was substantially remodeled using stolen funds, as a substitute asset. Smith had pleaded guilty on April 18, 2022.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Smith was employed as an office manager for a family-owned construction company for 27 years. As part of her duties, Smith was responsible for handling the company’s payroll and had access to the company’s business accounts. Dating back to at least 2008, Smith made payments on multiple personal credit cards directly from the company’s business bank accounts without her employer’s permission. Beginning in 2013, Smith altered her payroll to increase her weekly salary without her employer’s permission. She began with a $1,000 per week increase, and, by the time her employer discovered the fraud, she was embezzling $2,000 per week. In total, Smith stole at least $700,000 from her employer. She used the funds to purchase cars, renovate her home, and otherwise live above her means. Smith took numerous steps to conceal her criminal activity, including transferring money between business bank accounts, limiting access to the company’s monthly banking statements, and altering the company’s general ledger.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachel K. Jones. The forfeiture of assets is being handled by AUSA James Muench.