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Former CEO and Office Manager sentenced, ordered to repay $1 million+ in restitution

Took advantage of employer who helps people with special needs

TULSA, Okla. – Last week, the court sentenced Dawna Rochelle Sanders and Tracy Glenn Whyburn.

Sanders and Whyburn are former employees of Premier Community Services (PCS).

“For several years, Sanders and Whyburn took advantage of their employer whose mission is to help people with special needs,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “This sentencing sends a clear message that those who defraud others for their own personal gain will be brought to justice.”

“Together Mr. Whyburn and Ms. Sanders embezzled more than $1.1 million from their employer and attempted to hide the money through various transactions,” said Christopher J. Altemus Jr., special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Dallas Field Office. “The financial expertise of CI Special Agents identified their illicit activity and, working with other agencies, brought them to justice.”

According to court documents, PCS provides community-based residential support services to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. From 2009 through 2016, Sanders conspired with her colleague, Whyburn, to defraud PCS and the Bank of Oklahoma.

As the CEO, Sanders was entrusted with managing the daily business affairs for PCS. As the office manager, Whyburn reported directly to Sanders. Part of the duo’s elaborate scheme included “ghost employees.” Sanders would direct funds to Whyburn through the ghost employees. Whyburn would cash the check and split the proceeds with Sanders.

The duo’s scheme cost PCS more than $1.1 million.

  • U.S. District Judge Sara E. Hill sentenced Sanders, 55, for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud. Judge Hill ordered Sanders to 33 months imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and to pay more than $999k in restitution.
  • U.S. District Judge John D. Russell sentenced Whyburn, 64, for Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud; and Willfully Making and Subscribing a False Income Tax Return. Judge Russell ordered Whyburn to 24 months imprisonment, 5 years of supervised release, and to pay more than $603k in restitution.

Sanders and Whyburn were permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

The IRS Criminal Investigations assisted in the investigation of both cases. Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Buscemi prosecuted the case.

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