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CFO Sink Announces Arrest for Fraudulent Use of Tax Dollars in Pensacola

5/29/2008

CONTACT:
Tara Klimek or Brannon Jordan
(850) 413-2842
 
PENSACOLA− Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, Secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs Tom Pelham, and State Attorney for the 1st Judicial Circuit of Florida William Eddins today announced the arrest of an Escambia County woman charged with fraudulently obtaining nearly $150,000 in state funds from a local non-profit organization.
 
“It is upsetting to think someone would steal taxpayer dollars from distressed communities trying to become better places to work and raise a family,” said CFO Alex Sink. “I am grateful to our staff and cooperating investigators committed to ensuring every dollar is accounted for and those responsible for defrauding taxpayers are held accountable.”
 
Thelma Jean Manley, 49, former Community Liaison for the Governor’s Front Porch Revitalization Council of Pensacola, Inc., was charged Wednesday with aggravated white collar crime, which is a first degree felony.  If convicted, Manley could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison, in addition to restitution and fines.  The arrest is the result of a year-long joint investigation by the Department of Financial Services’ Office of Fiscal Integrity, the Department of Community Affairs Office of Inspector General, and the 1st Judicial Circuit’s State Attorney’s Office.
 
The investigation indicated Manley allegedly converted state funds, as well as other funds received from other local non-profit organizations to her own use.  The funds were earmarked for the Pensacola Front Porch Revitalization program to provide a multitude of services to people in need. The monies were funded with grants originating from the Department of Community Affairs, Department of Health, Department of Education, and Gulf Power Company donations.
 
The Office of Fiscal Integrity is responsible for statewide investigations of allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse involving State of Florida property and money.  To report fraud, waste, or abuse of State of Florida resources, call 1-800-GET-LEAN (1-800-438-5326) or the Office of Fiscal Integrity directly at 850-413-5514.
 
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. CFO Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.