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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Veblen Woman Sentenced in Federal Court for Mail Fraud Involving Head Start Program

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that a Veblen, South Dakota, woman was sentenced on June 8, 2020, by U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann. 

Renee K. Olson, age 57, was sentenced to 8 months of home confinement, coupled with 5 years of probation as a result of her conviction for Mail Fraud.  She was also ordered to pay $24,031.74 in restitution and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund. 

According to court documents, Olson served as the Treasurer of the Region VIII Head Start Association.  In September 2014 and continuing to June 2018, Olson devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud the Region VIII Head Start Association of money and property, and obtained money and property from the Region VIII Head Start Association by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, omissions, and promises.  In her working capacity, Olson sent out invoices to members of the Title VIII Region.  Members then paid those invoices and sent those payments to Olson.  Upon receipt, Olson converted those payments and used that money for personal expenses.  The money was supposed to be used to train members of Region VIII Head Start, but instead Olson deposited those checks into her personal bank account.  For the purpose of carrying out and executing the scheme to defraud, and in furtherance of the scheme and artifice to defraud, Olson knowingly caused items to be placed in an authorized depository for mail matter. 

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Jehangiri.

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Updated June 9, 2020