Former top D.C. official charged with tax fraud in Harry Thomas Jr. scandal

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Local,DC,Crime,Scott McCabe

UPDATE, 5:45 p.m. Friday: Update:  Millicent West pleaded guilty on Friday to a tax fraud charge. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24 and is likely to receive a sentence of between six and 12 months behind bars.

The District of Columbia's former head of homeland security is expected to plead guilty to corruption charges Friday.

Millicent West abruptly resigned as director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency last year, after she was identified in court documents in connection with the federal investigation of then-Councilman Harry Thomas Jr.

West was charged with tax fraud Thursday, making her the fifth person caught up in the Thomas scandal.

She is scheduled to plead guilty about 11:45 a.m. Friday before District Judge John D. Bates.

West did not respond to a request from The Washington Examiner for comment.

A former president of the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., West is accused of helping Thomas embezzle more than $350,000 meant for youth programs.

In court papers, federal prosecutors said West suggested that a staff member change the name of the entity that would receive District money for an event Thomas organized for the day of President Obama's inauguration because the original applicant for the funds, the D.C. Young Democrats, was a political group.

To help pay for the inaugural bash at the John A. Wilson Building, the CYITC ultimately steered $110,000 of District money originally earmarked for children's athletics.

West's attorney, Carol Elder Bruce, said her client cooperated with law enforcement authorities as soon as they contacted her in 2011.

"She takes full responsibility for her role in causing a report to be made by the Trust to the IRS that failed to accurately identity the true grant recipient for tax purposes," Bruce said in a statement.

Thomas pleaded guilty to stealing city funds and tax fraud and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Marshall D. Banks and Jimmy Garvin, who ran another foundation that provided education programs to children, pleaded guilty to steering trust money to Thomas.

Danita Doleman, director of the nonprofit Youth Technology Institute, pleaded guilty to lying on her taxes in connection with the scandal.

Banks, Garvin and Doleman have not been sentenced.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner