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OIG: Office of Inspector General
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Investigative Reports

  U.S. Department of Justice

Roscoe C. Howard, Jr.
United States Attorney for the
District of Columbia

Judiciary Center
555 4th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2003
For Information Contact Public Affairs
Channing Phillips  (202) 514-6933

Former Employee Sentenced to 6 Months in Prison for Her Role in Stealing from the Department of Education

Washington, D.C. - United States Attorney Roscoe C. Howard, Jr., Assistant Director of the FBI's Washington Field Office Michael A. Mason, and John P. Higgins, Inspector General for Department of Education, announced that United States District Judge Paul L. Friedman today sentenced Jean Williams Stancell, 55, of Fort Washington, Maryland, to six months of incarceration and, three years of supervised release with six months in home detention fox conspiring to defraud the government. Stancell pled guilty in January of this year to the charge of conspiracy for her role in a scheme to steal $13,800 from the Department of Education. Judge Friedman also ordered Stancell to pay restitution of $13,800. On September 10, 2003, Judge Friedman sentenced co-defendant Silvader Denise Estep, 49, of Fort Washington, Maryland, to 33 months of incarceration and three years of supervised release for her role in stealing $162,000 from the Department of Education

According to the government's evidence in this matter, from 1996 through 1999, Department of Education employees Estep and Stancell stole property and money from Department of Education ("Education") by charging goods and services for themselves and others on government-issued purchase cards. luring the conspiracy, Stancell and Estep both worked for the Quality Workplace Group ("QWG") at Education. QWG was the facilities management component of Education. Its mission was to hire contractors to perform maintenance work at Education buildings and to purchase furniture and office supplies for Education employees. Education issued VISA purchase cards to certain QWG employees in order for them to pay for goods and services. Education developed the following procedures to prevent fraudulent use of purchase cards: employees were required to obtain invoices from contractors and vendors when possible, maintain logs of charges, reconcile monthly statements logs, and certify, under penalty of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, that the charges were legitimate.

Estep and Stancell approached various vendors of Education and asked them to charge the government-issued purchase cards for work performed for the benefit of themselves and their associates. At times, Estep asked a vendor to charge a governrnent-issued purchase card without doing any work, but to give her the majority of the cash generated by charging the government. In order to disguise the theft, Estep asked others to create false invoices. Stancell asked a vendor for money in exchange for work orders from Education. Later, in August 2000, Stancell suggested that this vendor make false statements to the grand jury.

In announcing the results of this investigation, United States Attorney Howard, Assistant Director Mason, and Inspector Higgins commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Education's Office of Inspector General, in particular, Special Agents Lauren LeMay and George Blissman. In addition, they praised Paralegal Specialist Jeanie Latimore-Brown, Legal Assistant April Peeler, and Auditor Sandra Henderson. They also commended former Assistant United States Attorney Ann Rosenfield and Assistant United States Attorneys Elizabeth Coombe and Virginia Cheatham.


 
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Last Modified: 02/28/2005