Jefferson county women face workforce development program fraud charges www.privateofficer.com
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama Jan 9 2013 — Two Jefferson County women face federal fraud and embezzlement charges related to a county workforce development program.
Yvonne Marie Foreman, 59, of Fultondale, and Darlene Powell Cockrell, 53, of Midfield, have been charged with frauds and swindles, and theft or embezzlement from manpower funds. Foreman was charged in a Nov. 29 federal grand jury indictment, which was not made public until last week. Cockrell was charged through a document filed Dec. 21.
Foreman is to be arraigned Thursday at the Hugo L Black US Courthouse before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline H. Haikala. Cockrell has entered a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorneys Office. She has a change of plea hearing set for 9 a.m. Jan. 28 before U.S. District Court Judge Inge P Johnson in Florence.
Under her plea agreement, Cockrell agrees to pay $52,539 in restitution to the Jefferson County Commission.
According to court documents charging her, Foreman obtained federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) contracts through the Jefferson County Commission for a group called A Plus.
As the program director of A Plus, Foreman signed three WIA contracts, with a total value of more than $250,000, between A Plus and the county commission. The contract periods were: July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007; June 12, 2007, through August 14, 2007; and for July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2008.
Under each contract, A Plus was to be paid primarily by means of reimbursement for costs submitted by A Plus to the Commission in the form of periodic requisitions, according to court documents. Those costs included, but were not limited to, pay for staff and contract workers; WIA-related activities and programs that A Plus delegated to others; and stipends for program enrollees, according to court records.
The indictment against Foreman states that she submitted requisitions and supporting documents to the commission requesting payment for expenses A Plus had not actually incurred. Under the scheme, the indictment states, misrepresentations were made about the hours staff worked on WIA-related programs, training and materials provided to program enrollees, and stipends paid to enrollees.
The indictment against Foreman states that an unnamed person, identified as “Person A”, and others helped her create fraudulent documentation to submit in support of the false and fraudulent requisitions.
Cockrell helped Foreman in the commission of the offense and received some financial benefit from that, said Cockrell’s attorney, Charles Scott Linton. “My client was charged out of the same facts and circumstances as Foreman.”
Linton described Foreman as the leader and organizer of the conspiracy. “My client benefited from her acts and the acts of Foreman.”