CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A former nursing home employee who embezzled over $80,000 pleaded guilty today, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Veneford Blankenship, 35, of Princeton, entered her guilty plea to mail fraud.
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.
Blankenship faces up to 20 years in federal prison when she is sentenced on January 23, 2018. As part of her plea agreement, Blankenship agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $82,926.15.
The FBI and the Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before Senior United States District Judge David A. Faber.