Cooley sentenced for embezzling $500K from USDA program

HATTIESBURG — A Mississippi woman who worked as an office manager has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program and her unidentified employer.

A federal judge yesterday sentenced Cynthia Cooley, of Hattiesburg, to 89 months in prison and ordered her to pay restitution.

Cooley pleaded guilty in October to charges of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Her indictment says she worked for a company that sells furniture and other supplies to local governments.

Prosecutors say Cooley stole her employer’s personal funds and fraudulently obtained a credit card using her employer’s personal information. She allegedly concealed her theft by intercepting mail and altering bank statements.

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