SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Christine M. Iwamoto, a former employee with the Office of AIDS in Sacramento, pleaded guilty on Thursday to one count of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
As The Update previously reported, the former analyst was accused to orchestrating a fraud scheme with a fellow employee, Schenelle Flores, to divert money from the office. Investigators have estimated that the group stole over $2 million in cash and purchased items. Flores pleaded guilty to her role in the operation in February.
Iwamoto admitted on Thursday to creating a shell company which she used to send fake invoices to a state contractor on behalf of the Office of AIDS for work that never actually happened. The contractor ended up paying for personal luxuries like restaurant bills, concert tickets, and gift cards.
She will return to court in February for sentencing and faces a maximum penalty of 40 years behind bars, however, prosecutors have recommended that she be sentenced closer to the low-end of the federal guidelines.
Iwamoto’s lawyer, Raoul J. Severo, did not return a request for comment.