Roanoke Woman Sentenced On Embezzlement Charge
On April 30, 2012, Diane B. Holdren, a local interior designer previously hired by Valley Metro, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Roanoke, Virginia, for embezzling money from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Ms. Holdren previously waived her right to be indicted and pled guilty to a one count criminal information charging theft of government funds. Ms. Holdren was sentenced to four months in prison, four months of home confinement, a $3,000 fine, and $45,728 in restitution.
In 2006, the Federal Transit Administration awarded Valley Metro an $80,000 grant to replace furniture at the company's downtown Roanoke administration building. Valley Metro hired Ms. Holdren to complete the project. Ms. Holdren admitted to fabricating and inflating all competitors' bids to ensure Valley Metro would have to pay more than the true costs associated with the project. Following Valley Metro's acceptance of the bids, Ms. Holdren submitted falsified invoices related to the bids that included inflated and nonexistent shipping costs.
Subsequently, Valley Metro made direct payment to the furniture vendors on the inflated bills received from Ms. Holdren. The vendors then issued checks back to Ms. Holdren for the difference between the true costs and the cost paid by Valley Metro based on Ms. Holdren's deception. The total loss caused by Holdren's actions is between $80,000 and $120,000.
This was a joint investigation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.