LITTLE ROCK — The former chief financial officer of the Black River Area Development Corporation in Pocahontas pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal charge of mail fraud, the U.S. attorney’s office in Little Rock said.
Debra Shannon, 56, of Pocahontas entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, said Christopher Thyer, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. No date has been set for her sentencing.
Thyer said Shannon wrote checks to herself from various checking accounts, with the largest number of checks written on the organization’s payroll account. She also altered bank statements, which she received through the mail, to disguise that she was the recipient before entering the statements in the organization’s records, he said.
The organization administers programs to assist low-to-moderate-income residents of Clay, Lawrence and Randolph counties. Shannon was employed as its chief financial officer for 37 years.
The embezzlement began on or before December 2001, and continued through May 2012. The loss is estimated at $390,736.
Mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The case was investigated by the FBI.