Roanoke, Virginia Woman Pleads Guilty to Embezzling DOT Funds
On January 17, 2012, Diane Holdren of Roanoke, Virginia, pled guilty in United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia to one count of willfully and knowingly embezzling money from the United States Department of Transportation. In 2006, Valley Metro, the business entity that manages the Roanoke City bus service, was awarded over $80,000 in grant funds from FTA to replace furniture at the company's downtown Roanoke administration building. Valley Metro hired Ms. Holdren to complete the project.
In her plea, Ms. Holdren admitted she fabricated and submitted multiple bids of furniture vendors to Valley Metro in relation to the project. She admitted to fabricating and inflating all vendor bids, thus guaranteeing that 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 inflated invoices related to the bids that included inflated and nonexistent shipping costs.
Subsequently, Valley Metro paid the furniture vendors directly based on the inflated bills it had received from Ms. Holdren. The vendors then issued checks to Ms. Holdren for the difference between the true costs and the costs paid by Valley Metro that were based on the defendant's deceptions. The total loss caused by the defendant's actions is between $80,000 and $120,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2012.
This is a joint investigation with the United States Postal Inspection Service.