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Md. woman sentenced in $2.3M government fraud scheme | News

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Md. woman sentenced in $2.3M government fraud scheme
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GREENBELT, Md. (WUSA9) -- A thirty-five-year-old Clinton woman was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison for a $2.3 million government contract fraud scheme, the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein announced.

In addition to the 18 months in prison, Larayne Whitehead, 35, of Clinton, Md. will have three years of supervised release for "conspiring to commit wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud businesses which supplied goods under government contracts," officials said.

An order was placed that Whitehead forfeit a total of $2,393,579 along with a vehicle.

Whitehead was involved in the fraud scheme, along with her co-conspirators between December 2007 and May 2013, according to the plea agreement.

At least 15 businesses in the states of Maryland, Delaware, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Tennessee were used in the scheme, authorities said.

Whitehead and her co-conspirators bid on contracts to provide goods such as books, snowmobiles, plants and paint to government agencies, officials said.

Officials said, a lot of the contracts were completed by using an online marketplace to compete for federal contracts.

Low bids were often placed in order to secure the contracts, officials said. After the contracts were completed, Whitehead "enticed victim businesses to supply goods required by contract and promised to pay these subcontractors after government paid Whitehead," authorities said. The payments were kept by Whitehead and were never given to the subcontractors, authorities said.

Whitehead and her co-conspirators used a business name on average somewhere between six to 12 months until the name was disqualified from the online marketplace, officials said. A new business name was then used to complete the scheme.

Authorities said, Whitehead and her co-conspirator Christopher Johnson got at least 144 bank deposits from agencies, which came up to about $2,321,058.95. Fifty to 250 businesses were targeted in the scheme.

Whitehead "submitted duplicate charges to a government credit card to pay for her goods," officials stated. The total loss to the government was $39,983.16.

Her co-conspirator, Christopher Johnson pleaded guilty in the scheme back in July, officials said.


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