Home News Local News NM woman pleads guilty to stealing more than $400,000 in FDA funds

NM woman pleads guilty to stealing more than $400,000 in FDA funds

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A Capitan woman and former manager of a childcare center owned by the Mescalero Apache Tribe has pleaded guilty in federal court to a theft of government money, converting more than $400,000 in meal reimbursement checks for her own use.

Gina McPherson, 49, was the manager of the Team Members Childcare Center at the Inn of the Mountain Gods from March 2011 through December 2015 when she resigned, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
On May 1, McPherson was arrested and charged with theft of public money.
According to her criminal complaint, McPherson began the theft seven months after she began managing the childcare center in 2011.
Throughout her time as manager, McPherson enrolled TMCC into the Child and Adult Food Care Program, a federal program that enables qualifying childcare centers to provide meals to children from eligible families free of charge.
The meal reimbursement checks are disbursed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Within a few months of McPherson’s resignation, Inn of the Mountain Gods’ management became aware that their childcare center was not receiving meal reimbursement funds from the CACFP. However, records showed that funds had been disbursed to the center since August 2011.

The criminal complaint said further investigation revealed the state of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, which administers the food program, paid over $400,000 to McPherson for TMCC meals from August 2011 through January 2016.
During Monday’s proceedings, McPherson pleaded guilty to theft of government money. In entering the guilty plea, McPherson admitted that while she was employed by the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, she stole more than $400,000 in federal funds that were intended as reimbursement for meals consumed by children attending the daycare program.
McPherson also admitted she enrolled the daycare attendees in a meal reimbursement program without approval from IMG management.
McPherson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison when sentenced, though a sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

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