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Published:April 3rd, 2008 13:16 EST
World Bank's formerly-trusted employee sentenced

World Bank's formerly-trusted employee sentenced

By SOP newswire

Washington, DC – Shalome Odokara, a former World Bank employee, has been sentenced for her role in a fraud scheme in which she received over $100,000 from the World Bank that was diverted by her friend, another former World Bank employee, in 2001, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor, Joseph Persichini, Jr., Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Gregory Campbell, Jr., Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced today.

Odokara, 37, of Portland, Maine, received her sentence yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia before the Honorable Judge Emmet G. Sullivan following her earlier guilty plea to the charge of Conspiracy to Structure Transactions to Evade Currency Reporting Requirements. Judge Sullivan sentenced the defendant to five years of probation, during the first two years of which she will be subject to electronic monitoring and placed on home confinement. Judge Sullivan also ordered Odokara to perform 1000 hours of community service, pay $108,666 in restitution to the World Bank, and to pay $108,666 in criminal forfeiture to the United States.

According to the Indictment filed against Odokara, Odokara was a World Bank employee who had previously been authorized to receive payments from the World Bank. Odokara had a friend who was also a World Bank employee who worked in the accounting department and could authorize and make payments to various contractors. In or about March 2001, Odokara’s friend approached Odokar to participate in a scheme wherein the friend would wire money from the World Bank to Odokara’s account, and then Odokara would share the money with her friend. The friend explained to Odokara that the deposits would be under $10,000 because she wanted to avoid currency reporting requirements. According to the Indictment, the friend had access to World Bank accounting and payment software, and intentionally diverted payments that were to be made to several World Bank contractors for work performed and instead fraudulently sent the money from the World Bank to Odokara’s bank account. Between March and September 2001, the friend diverted approximately $108,666 to Odokara’s account. After receiving these monies, Odokara paid her friend approximately $41,513. The World Bank, which uncovered the scheme and takes financial malfeasance on the part of its staff very seriously, referred its investigative findings to the Department of Justice.

Odokara’s friend who is the former World Bank employee has been indicted in this matter and is awaiting trial, but is currently a fugitive.

In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Taylor, Assistant Director Persichini, Inspector in Charge Campbell praised the hard work of the investigative agents involved in this matter, especially FBI Special Agents Deb Martin, Gretchen Pinillos, Daniel Parker, and Postal Inspectors David Forde and Kevin Towers. They also acknowledged the efforts of Legal Assistant Teesha Tobias, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Carlin and Tejpal Chawla, who prosecuted this matter.