A woman from Columbus, Georgia is facing years of imprisonment after pleading guilty to wire fraud last week. The Department of Justice (DOJ) Middle District of Georgia revealed on Tuesday last week, that Trenna Denise Trice, 59, of Columbus pleaded guilty to wire fraud on Monday, December 20.
Ex-Teacher Embezzles $240,000 to Use on Gambling
According to the DOJ, the maximum penalty which the woman, that was formerly a teacher, can receive is twenty years in prison, as well as three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. Investigators of the case have found that Trice has conducted multiple fraudulent transactions. Overall, she had embezzled more than $200,000. With the money, Trice fueled her ongoing gambling addiction and significant gambling losses for the last 10 years.
“In total, with checks and credit cards, Trice is known to have stolen $240,259 from the following victims: UNCF ($162,044), the dental office ($70,231), SAMARC ($7,784) and the Georgia Dental Society ($200),”
reads a statement released by the Department of Justice
The DOJ revealed that while a part of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) in Columbus, Trice stole $162,044. Another victim of her crime was a dental office where she was employed. Trice stole some $70,231 from the dental office, as well as some $7,784 from a nonprofit corporation known as SAMARC and $200 from the Georgia Dental Society.
This translates to a total of $240,259 that was obtained by Trice via fraudulent transactions. According to the agents investigating the case, the woman has used 109 checks and completed 265 unauthorized credit card transactions to deposit the amounts to her account.
The Investigation Uncovers Embezzlement from Multiple Organizations
The investigation against Trice started in May 2019. Investigators indicated that she had significant casino losses which originated from an unidentified income stream. Consequently, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of the Inspector General (FDIC-OIG) probed into Trice’s finances. Despite the significant losses, the search found that Trice’s prime source of income was teaching for the Muscogee County School District (MCSD).
Before her job as a teacher, Trice worked as a volunteer campaign coordinator at the UNCF between 2005 and 2017. The investigators found that while at UNCF, she diverted many small contributions to her account. Suspicious of embezzlement, the UNCF ended her relationship with Trice. Investigators uncovered that she had stopped working at the dental office due to similar allegations.
“Trenna Trice abused the trust of two non-profits, a small business and many individual citizens when she choose to steal money intended for others to fund her gambling addiction.”
Peter D. Leary, US Attorney
US Attorney Peter D. Leary said that Trice abused the trust of businesses, non-profit organizations and many citizens by stealing funds to help fuel her gambling addiction. He acknowledged that despite Trice’s “web of lies” the FDIC-OIG investigators managed to get to the bottom of the story. In conclusion, Leary said that his office in collaboration with law enforcement “will do everything in our power to bring fraudsters to justice.”