US public servant's ID-theft excuse fails in theft case

Used PayPal and Amazon to feed consumption habit.

A former US Department of Health purchasing agent who claimed to be a victim of identity theft faces 10 years jail after pleading guilty to stealing $114,000 of government funds to purchase goods on Amazon.

33 year-old Jihan Cover pleaded guilty in the Western District Court to exploiting her role as the purchasing agent for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute to steal the funds, according to a statement by the Justice Department.

She was accused of making over 250 unauthorised purchases between June 2009 and December 2010.

Cover had used the department’s purchasing credit cards to re-route over $47,000 in payments to several PayPal accounts she had established.

She also made 170 purchases on Amazon amounting to $16,000 and paid off $29,000 in debts she had accrued with cash advance companies. 

According to the Justice Department, when she had been confronted by Department of Health staff over the purchases, she she claimed she was the victim of identity theft.

She now faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine while the government was currently seeking forfeiture of the stolen amount.   

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