The Blotter

Local,Crime,Naomi Jagoda

FEMA employee admits embezzling more than $140k

A Capitol Heights woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $140,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Attorneys announced.

Sheila Howard, 56, worked for FEMA since 1986 and took a position with the agency as a human resources specialist in June 2008. Using her access to FEMA's payroll processing system, Howard processed 28 fraudulent payments for overtime, cash bonuses and other compensation for 18 former agency employees, as well as one current employee, according to prosecutors.

Those payments were deposited in any one of four bank accounts associated with Howard and totaled $143,414.39 between Dec. 7, 2009 and March 31, 2011, according to prosecutors.

10th Springfield-area groping reported

A 23-year-old woman was groped Monday evening in the Springfield area, and police believe this might be the 10th reported attack in the area committed by the same person.

The woman was walking on the 7200 block of Commerce Street when a man approached her from behind, grabbed and groped her and fled, Fairfax County police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said. The attacker was described as a Hispanic man, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a medium build. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and tennis shoes.

- Ben Giles and Naomi Jagoda

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