Former Bradenton Housing Authority Project Director Pleads Guilty to Theft of Government Funds
TAMPA, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Stephany West (51, Bradenton) today pleaded guilty to theft of federal funds. She faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, from June 2, 2008, until September 19, 2013, West, a/k/a “Stephany Shaw,” was employed as the Project Director of the Bradenton Housing Authority (“BHA”). The BHA is a local housing authority agency of the City of Bradenton and received $10,000 or more in federal funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Between September 2010 and September 2013, West was routinely absent from the BHA and engaged in non-BHA activities during work hours. She failed to take annual or sick leave for these absences, and accepted her regular salary for work. From September 2010 through September 2012, West was absent and engaged in non-BHA activities at least 25 percent of the time. Between September 2012 and September 19, 2013, West was absent and engaged in non-BHA activities approximately 50 percent of the time. In total, West stole and knowingly converted to her own use approximately $73,783. from the BHA by taking salary, benefits, and bonuses that she had not earned and to which she was not entitled. She stole another $30,767.60 by cashing out unused annual and sick leave, which she should have otherwise used while spending work hours attending to personal affairs. Thus, West’s actions caused a total loss to the BHA of approximately $104,550.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Bradenton Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer L. Peresie.