Southeast Washington woman was sentenced yesterday to six months in jail after pleading guilty to filing false overtime claims for about $200 while working as a secretary at the U.S. Forestry Service in Rosslyn.
Vickey L. Ferrell of 128 Yuma St. SE left the federal court in Alexandria crying after U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. sentenced her to serve six months of a two-year sentence. She was convicted in a scheme involving several forestry service employes who filed more than $50,000 in false overtime claims.
The maximum penalty for the offense is five years in prison.
Earlier yesterday, another forestry employe, Margaret H. Robinson, pleaded guilty to one of 23 counts of filing false overtime claims. That count alleged that Robinson added 28 hours of false overtime amounting to $313.32. Her sentencing was set for Nov. 24.
The man prosecutors said was the ringleader of the forestry service scheme, Harold C. Peele, pleaded guilty earlier this month to one count of conspiracy to file false claim for overtime and is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.
According to prosecutors, the employes would fill out claims for false overtime, then submit them to Peele whose job was to approve them.
During Ferrell's hearing yesterday, her attorney, George D. Varoutsos, said he was aware of the "widespread activity" of which Ferrell was charged, but said his client's situation "is a case of need instead of greed."
Varoutsos said Peele had approached Ferrell about the scheme, and she declined. But she later agreed to go along because of personal financial difficulties.
Bryan said that while Ferrell was not as guilty as Peele, she still deserved confinement in a jail-type institution.