COVINGTON, La. — A Louisiana woman with a history of identity theft faces 10 years in prison after she was convicted Wednesday of stealing another woman’s background to land an executive position with a six-figure salary.
Cindy T. White, 41, of Slidell, was found guilty of identity theft over $1,000, according to a news release from the office of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery. It took jurors just 15 minutes to find White guilty of the charges.
Montgomery said in the news release that White used information stolen from another woman's LinkedIn profile to beef up her resume in September 2015, when she applied for an executive-level position with Diversified Foods & Seasonings. NOLA.com reported that the company, based in Covington, was founded by the late entrepreneur Al Copeland.
White also used the other woman's Social Security number and driver's license number when applying for the job, the news release said.
She was initially hired as a human resources manager, a position with a $95,000 annual salary, Montgomery said. Five months later, she was promoted to senior human resources director, a job with a $105,000 salary.
Company officials became suspicious a few months later when they noticed that White had trouble with duties that she should have been able to perform based on her alleged educational background. Her resume listed a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
"That's not this person," prosecutor Casey Dieck said in court, pointing at White. "This person stole the victim's hard work and used it to get a six-figure salary and benefits to boot."
Officials at Diversified Foods & Seasonings also noticed that White delegated a large number of tasks assigned to her, Montgomery said in the news release. They took a closer look at her personnel file and found discrepancies in it.
Company officials called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in April 2016.
Investigators determined that White lifted her educational background directly from the LinkedIn profile of a woman with a similar name, Montgomery said. They also discovered that she obtained the woman’s driver’s license and Social Security numbers from an unnamed online site.
A look at White's real background revealed that this was not the first time she had stolen someone's identity, the news release said.
White, a former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee, was arrested in New Orleans in 1997 on suspicion of theft, forgery and malfeasance in office after she was accused of stealing a co-worker’s identity and emptying the woman’s bank account.
She was caught when she was spotted in surveillance photos and identified, the news release said. She pleaded guilty that September to two counts of forgery and received probation.
Her probation was terminated in 1999 when the court was sent information that White had died, Montgomery said.
White also had a 1998 conviction in Jefferson Parish for attempted theft of goods.
Prosecutors argued that White, who admitted to St. Tammany Parish investigators that she used the victim’s identity to get the job, fraudulently collected $56,209 during the seven months she worked at Diversified Foods & Seasonings. Her defense attorney argued that she earned the salary she received.
Dieck denied the defense claim, Montgomery said in the news release.
“We have here a defendant who admits to stealing to cover up the fact that she’s a convicted thief,” the prosecutor said.
Cox Media Group