Jeanine Arnett, chief of the staff for Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large), and her husband Diallo Arnett face up to 30 years in jail after pleaded guilty this month to a charge of embezzling more than $150,000, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips.
Arnett, who served as the executive director of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. prior to joining the chairwoman’s office, pleaded guilty to bank fraud on April 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Her husband plead guilty on April 28.
“While Delta Sigma Theta and its members were committed to a mission of public service, the defendants were committed to a mission of personal benefit, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars to use for their own pleasure” Phillips said in a prepared statement.
“The defendants — and others who steal from non-profit organizations to enrich themselves — will be caught, prosecuted, and punished for the damage they cause, he said.
Jeanine Arnett was employed as the executive director of the sorority, a 501©(7) organization located in the District of Columbia prior to joining the chairwoman’s office in 2020, according to the attorney’s office.
The couple admitted that between approximately October 3, 2017 and Sept. 15, 2019, Jeanine Arnett misappropriated more than $150,000 from Delta Sigma Thetas’s bank accounts through, among other things, ACH money transfers and credit card transactions, the attorney’s office stated. This included unauthorized and fraudulent charges for personal items and expenses at, among other places, Amazon, Avis Rent a Car, Century Twenty-One, Coach, GEICO, and T-Mobile.
Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the Arnetts used the Square Cash App to make nine transactions to transfer $14,162.50 to their account.
Jeanine Arnett will not be returning to her post as the chairwoman’s chief of staff, according to an April 29 statement from Randall’s office.
Randall said in a statement that Jeanine Arnett did not inform her of the matter before her hiring, the statement reads. The chairwoman was briefed on the FBI investigation through Beverly Smith, president of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, on April 20.
Randall said she learned that Jeanine Arnett received a severance package at the time she was offered employment with her office. She learned that when the sorority hired a new director, major financial irregularities were found during an audit. The internal investigation was later turned over to the District of Columbia Police and then the FBI.
Jeanine Arnett confirmed the facts and was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, Randall stated. The chair said she requested a review of county finances, and no irregularities nor improprieties were revealed, she said.
“Ms. Arnett’s improprieties occurred with her previous employer and did not impact the operations of Loudoun County Government,” Randall said. “Although I am deeply upset by this revelation, I am also aware that Ms. Arnett has three school age children, thus I plan no further public comments on this issue.”
Sentencing is scheduled for July 29, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. The charge carries a statutory penalty of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 or twice the pecuniary gain or loss of the offense.
This is a Times-Mirror alert. Check back to LoudounTimes.com for updates.