A 45-year-old woman has been indicted on multiple charges in a scheme to steal money from a local program funded with federal money designed to improve air quality in our area, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Shonda Renee Stubblefield, of Houston, is considered a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for her arrest. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General at 1-800-424-9071 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 10-count indictment charges Stubblefield with theft of public money, two counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering by spending criminal proceeds and aggravated identity theft.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is an agency within of the Department of Transportation that supported state and local governments in the design, construction and maintenance of the nation’s highway system through financial and technical assistance. FHWA administered the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program which provided funding to areas that faced challenges attaining and maintaining national ambient air quality standards for ozone, carbon monoxide and/or particulate matter.
The FHWA entered into a contract with the Texas Department of Transportation (TX DOT) to provide federal money to reduce traffic congestion and improve the air quality in Texas. TX DOT then contracted with the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) which provided financial incentives to companies that participated in a regional telework program designed to improve air quality in our area by reducing traffic congestion through single vehicle travel.
The indictment alleges Stubblefield was the owner of World Corporation Inc. and participated in that federally-funded telework program. She allegedly stole approximately $126,000 from the CMAQ program by submitting invoices and employee timesheets that falsely documented her participation in the program. The indictment alleges Stubblefield provided false and fraudulent bank records, match documents and a fictitious client list to H-GAC as part of her fraud scheme.
The indictment includes a potential forfeiture and a money judgement for the $126,000.
If convicted of either theft of public money or money laundering by spending criminal proceeds, she faces up to 10 years in federal prison. The possible punishment for a conviction of mail fraud and wire fraud is a maximum of 20 years in prison. She also faces an additional mandatory and consecutive 24 months upon conviction of aggravated identity theft. All charges also carry a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
The Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.