Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzling $715,000 from Community Health Charities
NEW ORLEANS—U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that PATRICIA BLANCHARD, age 67, formerly of New Orleans, was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to mail fraud for her role in embezzling approximately $715,000 from Community Health Charities of Louisiana and Mississippi (“CHC”), a charitable fundraising organization.
U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo sentenced BLANCHARD to 30 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Additionally, BLANCHARD was ordered to pay $575,000 in restitution, in addition to the $140,000 she has already paid.
According to court documents, BLANCHARD’S husband, G.B., was hired in 2000 to be the Executive Director and President of CHC, a not-for-profit charitable organization that raised, collected, and distributed funds to local charities through workplace giving campaigns. CHC received pledges from federal civilian, postal, and military donors to support eligible non-profit organizations. In about 2005, he arranged for BLANCHARD to be hired as CHC’s bookkeeper. As bookkeeper, BLANCHARD was responsible for overseeing CHC’s finances and accounts, including reconciling accounts payable and receivables.
Between 2006 and November 2011, BLANCHARD embezzled approximately $715,000 from CHC 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 Shell gas card without authorization and reimbursed herself from CHC’s accounts, making it look like the reimbursement were for legitimate travel and gas expenses. Third, BLANCHARD paid for personal expenditures and items directly from CHC’s bank accounts without authorization.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg was in charge of the prosecution.