La Plata woman sen­tenced to fed­eral prison in plea deal

For­mer NIH em­ployee guilty of wire fraud

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - ANDREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

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A La Plata woman, a for­mer Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health em­ployee, was sen­tenced to 21 months of ac­tive in­car­cer­a­tion in fed­eral prison on Fri­day for mis­us­ing her gov­ern­ment-is­sued credit card to buy close to $22,000 of mer­chan­dise from re­tail stores over a 16day span, the U.S. States At­tor­ney’s of­fice an­nounced.

The woman, Francesca Maria Daniele, 49, was or­dered to pay resti­tu­tion of $22,338.67 and will be sub­ject to three years of su­per­vised re­lease fol­low­ing her pris- on stint, hav­ing en­tered a guilty plea for wire fraud in U.S. Dis­trict Court of Mary­land in Green­belt.

In July 2014, Daniele worked for the NIH and was tasked with pur­chas­ing equip­ment from ven­dors and ad­min­is­ter­ing con­tracts on be­half of the agency. Us­ing her gov­ern­ment-is­sued credit card, Daniele spent ap­prox­i­mately $21,830.19 on per­sonal items, and at­tempted to con­ceal the scheme by falsely re­port­ing that the card had been lost, ac­cord­ing to the plea agree­ment.

A few months later in Oc­to­ber, Daniele opened a credit card ac­count un­der the name of her mi­nor child and bought a lap­top, a video game con­sole, a ring and other items, and had them shipped to a ho­tel room she had rented by us­ing a false name.

“United States At­tor­ney Rod J. Rosen­stein praised the HHS-OIG for its work in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, and thanked As­sis­tant United States At­tor­ney Thomas P. Win­dom and Trial At­tor­ney Justin D. Weitz of the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s Pub­lic In­tegrity Sec­tion, who pros­e­cuted the case,” states a USAO press re­lease.

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