- Associated Press - Friday, March 27, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite says a 67-year-old bookkeeper has admitted embezzling about $715,000 from Community Health Charities of Louisiana and Mississippi.

He says Patricia Blanchard, formerly of New Orleans, pleaded guilty Wednesday to mail fraud and agreed to repay all of the money. U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo is to sentence her June 25. She could get up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Polite said Blanchard’s husband was hired in 2000 as the nonprofit’s executive director, and he arranged in 2005 for her to be hired as its bookkeeper.

The prosecutor said that from 2006 to November 2011, Blanchard used the charity’s checks to pay her credit card bills, reimbursed herself from charity accounts for cash advances on her gas credit card, and used its bank accounts to pay for personal spending.

Polite said that when Blanchard paid her credit card bills, she added notes to the checks to make it appear that they were for a number of charities, including the March of Dimes and NO AIDS/Task Force.

Polite’s spokeswoman, Anna Christman, says nobody else has been charged in the case.

Community Health Charities of Louisiana and Mississippi is a branch of a national organization. Calls for comment Thursday were not immediately answered.

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