Skip to main content

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.

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

image

Hospital chiefs say nursing strike will come at 'worst possible time'

A nurses union announced an almost three-week strike to take place in the Twin Cities.

snow

Sven Sundgaard: What's in store for MN's weather in December?

Sundgaard recaps Minnesota's fall and looks ahead to December.

work-g674ba1702_1280

Manure spill in Wisconsin leads to hours-long main street disruption

The spill was first reported just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

IceCube

Ice Cube to perform 2 nights at Mystic Lake Casino

The rapper hasn't performed in Minnesota since 2018.

image

Nicollet Mall's new Ties Lounge & Rooftop closes 'indefinitely'

The establishment aimed to reconnect the downtown community.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.15.44 AM

Chinese restaurant closing after 50 years in Columbia Heights

The beloved family-owned restaurant will close Dec. 24.

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 9.43.40 AM

Kris Laudien leaving KARE 11 after four years on 'Sunrise'

KARE 11 announced the appointment of Jason Hackett to the morning show this week.

Related

court gavel

13 charged in $5.4M health care fraud scheme

Some of the Minnesotans accused were involved in the scheme for as many as three years.

court gavel

Plymouth man who defrauded woman out of her life savings is sentenced to prison

He's accused of using her money to buy a BMW, hot tub and pay a family member's tuition.

prison, jail

Inmate sentenced to more prison time for punching a guard

Charles Marquis Mitchell was on drugs when he assaulted the guard and two other inmates.

flickr-gun-show-houston-2007

St. Paul man pleads guilty in illegal scheme to buy 97 guns

Three people have now pleaded guilty in connection to the year-long scheme to buy guns for other people.

prison, jail

Plymouth man gets 12.5 years in prison for child porn charge

He would acquire and trade "diaper erotica" and other content involving kids.

accupuncture

Charges: Twin Cities acupuncturist defrauded Medicaid out of $1.68M

She is accused of overbilling for services and billing for services that were never provided.

penumbra theatre company

3 Minnesota nonprofits get slice of $2.7B donated by Mackenzie Scott

The philanthropist has given away around $8 billion to nonprofits over the past year.