Former Liberal Housing Authority Director, Carol Beckwith, To Be Sentenced
KSCB News - June 3, 2015 12:52 pm
Former Director of the Liberal Housing Authority, Carol Beckwith, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. She entered her plea on April the 1st, 2015, with sentencing set for June 22, 2015.
In her plea agreement, Beckwith admitted that as Executive Director for the Liberal Housing Authority, she falsified a copy of LHA Personnel Policy Resolution 318-8-09, adding language to the Retirement Plan section that stated: "Retirement compensation package will be reviewed by the Board after an employee has completed at least 15 years of service at the time of retirement. The package shall include Cobra insurance coverage and final payment of one-half of accumulated sick leave and all accumulated vacation time."
After her reitirement in May of 2013, Beckwith made demand for payment of 1/2 of her accumulated sick leave, in the amount of $30,855. Due to other irregularities in other payments authorized by Beckwith, the Executive Director referred the matter to the Office Of Inspector General for investigation. As that investigation began, LHA refused to pay Beckwith for her accumulated sick leave. OIG discovered other employees had retained copies of the actual LHA Personnel Policy, which did not contain the fabricated language. OIG also found worksheets, drafted by Beckwith and sent to the LHA’s accountantafter implementation of LHA Personnel Policy Resolution 318-8-09, which showed the defendant applying the actual personnel policy for retiring employees.
Despite her personal knowledge of the actual LHA Personnel Policy Resolution 318-8-09, Beckwith contacted an attorney’s office and persisted with her demand for one half of her accumulated sick leave. On October 7, 2013, through her attorny, Beckwith caused a civil complaint petition to be electronically filed in US District Court for the District of Kansas, demanding to be paid one half her accumulated sick leave and referencing the falsified LHA personnel policy. Staff of the United States Courts confirmed that the filing of the documents with the United States Courts involves a process whereby electronic filings in Kansas cross interstate lines by wire.
In this manner the defendant caused the filing of a civil petition, which contained fraudulent or false representation relating to LHA personnel policy, to be transmitted by wire in interstate commerce via United States Courts Case Management/Electronic Case Files system for the purpose of advancing her scheme to defraud the LHA of more than $30,000.
Beckwith understands that the maximum sentence which may be imposed as to Count 1 of the Indictment is not more than 20 years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, not more than 3 years of supervised release, and a $100mandatory special assessment.
In the plea agreement, the parties will be proposing to the court, imposition of "Time Served" for Count 1, 1 year supervised release, no fine, and a mandatory special assessment of $100.
The Court has no obligation to accept the proposed Plea Agreement and sentence. It is solely within the Court’s discretion whether to accept binding Plea Agreement as an appropriate disposition of the case.
Sentecing is scheduled for June, 22, 2015.