Bookkeeper Patricia Blanchard Charged with Mail Fraud for Embezzling More Than $700,000 from a Charitable Organization
U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite announced that PATRICIA BLANCHARD, age 67, formerly of New Orleans, Louisiana, was charged today in a one-count Bill of Information with mail fraud.
According to the Bill of Information, BLANCHARD’S husband was hired in 2000 to be the Executive Director and President of a not-for-profit charitable organization that raised, collected, and distributed funds to local charities through workplace giving campaigns (“Charity A”). In about 2005, he arranged for BLANCHARD to be hired as Charity A’s bookkeeper.
Between 2006 and November 2011, BLANCHARD embezzled approximately $715,000 from Charity A in three ways. First, she mailed checks drawn on Charity A’s accounts to pay her own credit card bills. To disguise her behavior and make the checks look legitimate, BLANCHARD added fictitious notes on the checks, such as “Cancer Research Institute,” “AIDS Research Foundation,” “MARCH OF DIMES,” “NO AIDS/TASK FORCE,” “American Heart Assoc.,” and “AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY.” Second,BLANCHARD obtained cash advances on her gas card without authorization and reimbursed herself from Charity A’s accounts, making it look like the reimbursements were for legitimate travel and gas expenses. Third, BLANCHARD paid for personal expenditures and items directly from Charity A’s bank accounts without authorization.
If convicted, BLANCHARD faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release after any term of imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg.