COVINGTON, La. — A Slidell woman who was convicted in April of stealing another woman’s identity to get a six-figure job as a human resources manager has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
According to a news release from the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, prosecutors plan to ask a judge to sentence 41-year-old Cindy White under the state’s multiple offender law, which could increase her prison sentence to 20 years.
A St. Tammany Parish jury found White guilty of theft of identity over $1,000 on April 18, after hearing trial testimony that White lifted the resume of an unsuspecting woman with a similar name on the networking site LinkedIn.
The credentials on the resume, including a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, helped White land a job in September 2015 as human resources manager at the Covington office of Diversified Foods and Seasonings. White started at a salary of $95,000 per year and was promoted five months later to senior human resources director at $105,000.
Between October 9, 2015, and May 6, 2016, White fraudulently collected $56,209 in salary from Diversified Foods.
Since White’s conviction last month, three additional companies reached out to the District Attorney’s Office to report that they, too, were scammed by White. A prominent eye clinic in the metropolitan area provided an affidavit confirming that White was hired on Aug. 16, 2016, as a medical practice manager with an annual salary of $65,000. A month later she asked for a $7,000 raise.
By then, the clinic’s medical director had noticed deficiencies in White’s performance and demanded improvement in several areas. She was terminated on Nov. 28, 2016.
Years before, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) had hired White as human resources manager. On June 6, 2012, just a month after she was hired, she asked for a raise. When White failed to provide proof of her claimed credentials, including an M.B.A. from Emory University and SPHR certification, she was terminated on Jan. 29, 2013.
After she was ffired, White even got an attorney to send a letter to NOMA on her behalf, threatening legal action based on her accusation that she had been wrongfully terminated. White also applied for unemployment, which was contested by NOMA but ultimately granted by the Louisiana Workforce Commission. She also applied for disability money from the Social Security Administration and fraudulently claimed that her NOMA salary had been subsidized. Gail Asprodites of NOMA testified at the sentencing.
A third company—a New Orleans-based architectural firm—also provided an affidavit that White was interviewed for an office manager position on Feb. 24, 2018, even as she awaited trial in the Diversified Foods case.
A representative for the architectural firm told Assistant District Attorney Casey Dieck, who prosecuted the case, that White’s resume and interview were so impressive that she didn’t get the job because she was deemed overqualified.
But White’s inability to do the job always proved to be her undoing.
Diversified Foods officials grew suspicious and began looking into White’s background when she was unable to perform basic tasks within the educational level and experience listed on her resume. Upon closer inspection of White’s personnel file, company officials found discrepancies that ultimately helped them uncover the fraud. White was terminated in May 2016.
In addition to stealing the victim’s resume, investigators discovered that White also had been able to obtain the victim’s Social Security number and Driver’s License through an unspecified site online.
Investigators also learned that White had been arrested as an employee of the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office in New Orleans in February 1997 for theft, forgery, and malfeasance in office. There, she assumed a coworker’s identity and emptied the victim’s bank account before being identified by surveillance photos. White pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery on September 27, 1997, and was placed on probation. But court records indicate her probation was terminated in 1999 because the court received information that White was deceased.
White previously also had pleaded guilty in Jefferson Parish to attempted theft of goods on December 4, 1998.