Former domestic violence director sentenced in fraud scheme
MARSHALL - The former director of a domestic violence shelter was sentenced in federal court Thursday for embezzling more than $100,000 from the shelter and defrauding the state on federal grants earmarked for crime victims.
Deborah L. Wallace, 51, of Marshall, was sentenced to two years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Wallace to pay $433,688 in restitution, including $115,219 to the Lighthouse Shelter and $268,468 to the Missouri Department of Public Safety.
Wallace worked as executive director of the Lighthouse Shelter, Inc., from April 1999 to April 2013. Wallace admitted to embezzling money from Lighthouse, including grant money funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.
From 2008 to 2013, Wallace used Lighthouse credit cards to pay personal expenses. Wallace also made unauthorized payments on personal credit cards and her personal cell phone from the Lighthouse bank account.
As executive director, Wallace certified that grant applications submitted to the Missouri Department of Public Safety were true and accurate statements. Wallace submitted grant applications under the Victims of Crime Act and to the State Services for Victims Fund. Wallace also certified that monthly invoices made in support of disbursement of the grant monies were true and accurate. Wallace admitted that she submitted fraudulent monthly invoices, including falsely claiming employees who actually performed other duties were working in positions funded under the grants.
Wallace pleaded guilty to one count of stealing government property and one count of making false claims for reimbursement under a federal grant on June 26, 2014.