A Brooklyn Park woman was sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and making false statements to federal investigators, the United States Attorney’s Office announced Oct. 5.
Clarissa Combs, 49, was sentenced to 71 months in prison for her part in a scheme to steal nearly $700,000 from a non profit.
Combs pleaded guilty Dec. 4, 2019, and was sentenced Oct. 5.
Combs, a Brooklyn Park resident, was a program manager for a Twin Cities-based non profit that provides housing and services for people experiencing homelessness.
“Combs orchestrated a years-long fraud scheme that diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from some of the most vulnerable members of society, including individuals and families in need of housing,” said U.S. Attorney Erica H. MacDonald. “I applaud the work of our investigative partners in bringing this conspiracy to justice.”
Between April 2012 and February 2019, Combs and multiple co-conspirators devised and implemented a scheme to fraudulently obtain $684,081 in charitable funds from the nonprofit she worked for. Combs recruited other employees from the nonprofit, as well as family and friends, to pose as both homeless clients and landlords, and to receive funds from the organization’s programs.
Combs then attempted to conceal the scheme and minimize her role by making false statements to the FBI, a United States Postal inspector, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General.
Combs was ordered to pay back the $684,081 she stole in restitution, and will face three months of supervised release following her 71-month prison sentence.
In total, 11 other people pleaded guilty in the case. They are Shaneka Mzee, 36, of St. Paul; Leteaste Henry-Davis, 56, of Minneapolis; Sharrè Rush, 34, of Minneapolis; Aisha Davis, 42, of Minneapolis; Jalonda Combs, 38, of Minneapolis; Rachael Ekholm, 41, of Richfield; Bridgit Michaud, 54 of Minneapolis; Audrey Heath, 35, of Ramsey; Aishia Bell, 43, of Minneapolis; Anthony Oliver, 56, of Minneapolis; Neal Burton, 57, of Minneapolis, and Tyrone Buron, 41, of St. Paul.
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