CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A former nursing home employee who embezzled over $80,000 was sentenced today to a year and a month in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Veneford Blankenship, 35, of Bluefield, previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud. She was also ordered to pay $81,486.15 in restitution. U.S. Attorney Stuart commended the cooperative investigative efforts of the FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Blankenship worked at a nursing home in Princeton as the Business Office Supervisor where she oversaw the financial operations. Her duties included sending patient invoices, recording deposits in the nursing home’s accounting program, and depositing checks into the nursing home’s operations account. The nursing home also had another bank account, which allowed residents to collect funds that were occasionally spent on dinner, outings, and small events for residents. While the nursing home’s parent company received bank statements for its operations account, the parent company did not receive any statements for the other bank account.

Blankenship admitted that in June 2015, she began secretly diverting residents’ payment checks. Instead of depositing these checks into the operations account, she deposited the checks into the other bank account. She then wrote checks to herself from the other account, forging the signatures of the two individuals with signature authority. She hid her crime by writing false memos on the checks and indicating that the withdrawals were for legitimate nursing home purposes, when in reality she took the money for herself. She also falsely updated the nursing home’s accounting program to indicate that the residents paid invoices and that the nursing home received funds that she had stolen.

Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution. Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber imposed the sentence.

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