Dara Little of Mitchell was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to three counts of wire fraud. Over the course of five years, Little stole a total of nearly $420,000 from her former employer, a senior living facility in Bedford.
According to court documents, Little was hired as the senior center’s executive director of nursing in 2014. In her role, Little had access to a website used to submit business expense reimbursement requests.
In 2016, Little was fired for timesheet fraud and theft of prescription medicine, yet her access to the reimbursement request platform was not immediately disabled.
In January 2016, after she was fired, Little submitted 24 expense reimbursement requests totaling nearly $60,000. The reimbursement requests contained forged and falsified receipts that had no connection to Little’s employment at the facility.
Court documents show that Little continued to make reimbursement requests for dishwasher maintenance, locksmith services, iPads and baby strollers for five months after her termination.
Little’s expense account was deactivated in September 2016.
The day after her access was terminated, Little began using another employee’s expense reimbursement request account to submit more fraudulent reimbursement requests, containing forged and falsified receipts. Between September 2016 and March 2021, Little submitted 172 fraudulent reimbursement requests using the other employee’s account and, as a result, received more than $173,900 in payments from her former employer.
According to court documents, the fraudulent requests Little submitted included receipts from a Nando’s Chicken in England, a California shoe store and for a cheerleading uniform. The receipt picture that Little used from Nando’s Chicken went viral in 2013 after it was posted online and was identified as belonging to the singer Beyonce.
In 2017, Little began to use another employee’s account to submit fraudulent reimbursement requests. Between October 2017 and March 2021, Little submitted 155 additional fraudulent reimbursement requests with the second employee’s account and, as a result, received more than $161,000 in payments to which she was not entitled.
According to investigators, Little’s cellphone was searched and a note was found in which she admitted to stealing over $400,000 from her former employer over the course of five years. The note also contained information regarding how the money was stolen and what personal expenses the stolen funds paid for.
“For over five years, the defendant repeatedly defrauded her former employer through lies and forged documents,” said Zachary Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Our office will continue to prioritize prosecutions of fraud schemes that have lasting impacts on businesses and individuals.”
The FBI investigated this case, and the sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Senior Judge Sarah Evans Barker.