Woman sentenced in theft of government money

A woman who stole over $400,000 in government money was sentenced to almost five years in federal prison Monday by Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George, according to Nevada U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden’s office.

In addition to a sentence of 57 months in prison, Teresa Ann Towns, 50, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and must pay $477,466 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in October to three counts of theft of government money, including $322,682 from the unemployment system, $114,000 from the public housing authority and $40,656 from the Social Security Administration. She has been in custody since she was arrested in June.

From 2005 to 2008, Towns used the aliases C. or T. Moorehead, C. or S. Grayson, and V. Johnson to receive unemployment benefits from the Nevada Department of Unemployment, Training and Rehabilitation. She set up multiple business entities in Nevada and submitted fake wage reports for nonexistent employees. The money was disbursed on debit cards, which were then used by Towns to obtain cash from ATM machines, according to a press release.

Additionally, Towns used a fake identity to obtain a home unit from the Nevada Housing Authority in 2001 and received Section 8 housing benefits in 2007.

Towns had used fraudulent means to receive governmental benefits before and was sentenced to two years in prison in 1991 in California for using multiple aliases to obtain welfare benefits.

Contact reporter Maria Agreda at magreda@reviewjournal.com and (702)383-0391