PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A woman is accused of defrauding the Philadelphia School District of tens of thousands of dollars.
The United States Attorney’s Office announced Monday that Patricia Cleary has been charged with wire fraud, mail fraud, identity theft, and other related charges.
According to the indictment, Cleary allegedly presented herself as a tutor for a relative with special needs with the Philadelphia School District.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Cleary used her maiden name, Patricia Goldstein, as the name for the fictitious tutor, submitted a false tax form using the Social Security number of another person, and a retired Pennsylvania teacher’s credentials.
When the school district stopped issuing payments on her tutoring invoices and required verifications of her credentials, Cleary allegedly threated the district with a lawsuit.
The indictment claims Cleary submitted false teaching certificates from two different states purportedly in the name of the fictitious tutor and fraudulently created a profile for the tutor in a system used by the school district to verify credentials.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cleary received nearly $58,940 and attempted to receive another $33,090 from the school district.
“The defendant allegedly stole a victim’s identity and used it to defraud the Philadelphia School District by claiming that she was tutoring her special needs relative,” said United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen. “Our office will continue to prosecute scammers who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of members of our community who are entitled to benefit from valuable public programs that too often are targeted by venal criminals.”
Cleary faces up to 20 years in prison.