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Former State Worker Sentenced For Role In $2M Scheme To Defraud Office Of AIDS

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A former state worker from Sacramento was sentenced to two years in prison for her role in a scheme to defraud the Office of AIDS out of millions of dollars, prosecutors announced Thursday.

Christine M. Iwamoto, 48 was also ordered to pay $481,200 in restitution for wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in relation to a scheme to divert funds from the California Department of Public Health, where she had been working until 2018, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Between December 2017 and November 2018, Iwamoto took part in a scheme that was operated by coworker Schenelle Flores, who was sentenced to nearly six years in prison and more than $2 million in restitution on March 3. Flores had pleaded guilty in February 2021.

Participants in the scheme, as well as their families and friends, altogether obtained at least $2 million for their own benefit, prosecutors said. Flores would direct a state contractor to make payments on behalf of the Office of AIDS and charge them to the state. False invoices were also paid to shell companies for services allegedly provided by the Office of AIDS.

Iwamoto reportedly obtained $450,000 in payments from the fraudulent invoices and gave cash and blank checks worth thousands of dollars to another coworker involved in the scheme.

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