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California Public Health Employee Pleads Guilty To $2 Million Scheme To Defraud Office Of AIDS

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A California Department of Public Health worker pleaded guilty Thursday to using her employment in a scheme to defraud the Office of AIDS, officials announced.

Schenelle M. Flores, 45, of Sacramento, coordinated the fraud scheme between December 2017 and November 2018, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott of the Department of Justice Eastern District of California.

Flores directed a state contractor to make payments allegedly on behalf of her employer, which aims to combat the HIV and AIDS epidemic, and charge them to the state, Scott said.

The scheme resulted in Flores and others gaining at least $2 million in personal benefits, including cash and items purchased, Scott said.

The Department of Justice said Flores caused the contractor to pay for personal expenses on its debit cards, order gift cards for personal use, and pay false invoices to shell companies for services" allegedly provided by her employer.

Flores faces up to 20 years in prison as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 27.

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