Woman sentenced to prison in scheme to defraud Twin Cities nonprofit of $684K

She and 12 others have been sentenced in connection to the years-long scheme.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

A former program manager with Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison for her role in a scheme to defraud the nonprofit out of more than $600,000.  

Clarissa Lynn Combs, 49, of Brooklyn Park, was sentenced to 71 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $684,081.90 in restitution for conspiring to commit wire fraud and making a false statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Monday. She was charged in November, pleaded guilty in December and was sentenced on Monday. 

“Ms. Combs orchestrated a years-long fraud scheme that diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from some of the most vulnerable members of society, including individuals and families in need of housing. I applaud the work of our investigative partners in bringing this conspiracy to justice,” U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said in a news release

According to Combs' guilty plea and court documents, between April 2012 and February 2019, Combs and multiple other people devised and participated in a scheme to fraudulently obtain at least $684,081.90 in charitable funds from the nonprofit where they worked.

Combs recruited other employees, her family and her friends to pose as landlords and fake homeless clients, the release says. 

And during the investigation, Combs attempted to conceal their scheme and minimize her involvement by making false statements to federal officials. 

Twelve other people were sentenced in connection to the case. They are: 

  • Shaneka Lashay Mzee, 36, of St. Paul, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $26,865 in restitution.
  • Leteaste Henry-Davis, 56, of Minneapolis, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $12,400 in restitution.
  • Sharre Ophilia Rush, 34, of Minneapolis, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $35,843.25 in restitution.
  • Aisha Lenee Davis, 42, of Minneapolis, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $87,740.65 in restitution.
  • Jalonda Leeann Combs, 38, of Minneapolis, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $117,633 in restitution.
  • Rachael Elizabeth Ekholm, 41, of Richfield, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to six months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $109,080 in restitution.
  • Bridgit Yvette Michaud, 54, of Minneapolis,  was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $89,000 in restitution.
  •  Audrey Sebiletta Heath, 35, of Ramsey, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $15,650 in restitution.
  • Aishia Renee Bell, 43, of Minneapolis, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to two years in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $166,875 in restitution.
  • Anthony Jerome Oliver, 56, of Minneapolis, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $76,600 in restitution.
  • Neal Burton, 57, of Minneapolis, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $15,785 in restitution.
  • Tyrone Lamar Burton, 41, of St. Paul, was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $166,785 in restitution.

Follow Bring Me The News on News Break

Next Up

ambulance

2 killed in head-on crash involving car, dump truck

The crash happened just before 2 p.m. Friday, according to the State Patrol.

coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Saturday, October 31

Minnesota has surpassed 3,000 new cases on consecutive days.

high school football

Minnesota Football Showcase postponed due to COVID-19

The MFCA All-Star Game will be played in June 2021.

Screen Shot 2020-10-31 at 7.26.05 AM

Here's what President Trump said on his visit to Minnesota

The president targeted Gov. Tim Walz and Keith Ellison at his Minnesota rally.

Screen Shot 2020-10-30 at 6.09.58 PM

Here's what Joe Biden said in Minnesota Friday

Presenting himself as the candidate for a united country, he pledged improvements on affordable healthcare, pandemic relief

Mohamed Ibrahim

Missed PAT seals Gophers' fate against Maryland

Mohamed Ibrahim tied a school record with four touchdowns, but the Gophers lost in overtime.

dnr trout stocking helicopter

DNR uses a helicopter to more efficiently stock lakes with trout

In the past, the DNR used airplanes to stock remote lakes with fish, but the survival rate of the fish was only 85%.

steve simon zoom call

Secretary of State explains plans for segregated absentee ballots

Election officials are reminding voters that it's too late to mail in your absentee ballots.

Halloween, trick-or-treating

Osterholm on safe trick-or-treating: 'I would say go ahead with it'

The infectious disease expert's opinion doesn't align with the CDC's guidance.

Related

Minnesota woman gets 60 months in prison for role in mortgage fraud scheme

A woman from Savage was sentenced to 60 months in prison Friday for her role in a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that victimized lenders across the country. Barbara Lynnae Puro, 49, was sentenced after pleading guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

court gavel

2 men guilty in 2019 Brooklyn Park cell phone store robbery

They were disguised in wigs and carrying weapons.

3 brothers in Twin Cities crime family get lengthy prison sentences

They were involved in a $20 million stolen cellphone conspiracy.

Edward Muhammad Johnson

Inmate who killed Stillwater corrections officer sentenced to life in prison

Edward Muhammad Johnson pleaded guilty to killing Joseph Gomm on Friday and was immediately sentenced.