U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that WANDA WELLS CORNISH, age 46, of Ponchatoula, pled guilty today to theft of government funds.
According to court documents, beginning in 2011 and continuing until 2015, CORNISH served as the Executive Director of the Ponchatoula Housing Authority (“PHA”). CORNISH functioned as the chief administrator responsible for the overall operations of the PHA and had authority to make purchases on behalf of PHA and manage PHA bank accounts for the benefit of the PHA. CORNISH possessed a PHA credit card and used that credit card to purchase items for her own personal use (rather than for the benefit of the PHA) in the amount of approximately $27,000.
CORNISH faces a maximum of ten years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown set sentencing for June 29, 2017.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development in investigating this matter. Assistant Attorney Sean Toomey is in charge of the prosecution.