Diboll woman pleads guilty to embezzling federal funds

BEAUMONT, TX (KTRE) - A 62-year-old Diboll woman who pleaded guilty to a theft of federal funds charge Tuesday will face up to 10 years in a federal prison and up to $31,008 in restitution.

Melva Darlene Blakemore pleaded guilty in front of U.S. District judge Marcia Crone. A sentencing date has not been set at this time.

According to a press release from U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, the charge is related to an incident that occurred in May 2008. Blakemore, who was employed as a senior investigator with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, told a Supplemental Nutritional Assistance recipient that she had been overpaid $2,520 on her Lone Star Card.

"Blakemore told the individual that if they did not repay the money, she would be indicted and prosecuted," the press release stated. "Blakemore also advised the individual that if the money was paid in cash, with no receipt expected, Blakemore would send the money to someone she knew in Austin and that no charges would be filed."

The woman contacted local authorities, and they spotted Blakemore meet her in a Nacogdoches parking lot. After driving away, Blakemore stopped to deposit part of the money in her bank account, the press release stated. The remainder of the money was found in her vehicle.

In addition to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the case was investigated by the Texas Rangers, FBI, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Nacogdoches County Sheriff's Office.

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