Out of the Mouths of Babes: Woman Steals From Infant Nutrition Program

By From The Blotter

Feb 25, 2008 6:12pm

A federal jury in New York found the director of a program that provides nutritional counseling to expectant mothers and mothers of small children guilty of defrauding the program of hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting false expense accounts and fake invoices and by granting an office cleaning contract in return for having her own home cleaned twice a week.

Carole Peirce, director of the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program at the prestigious New York Presbyterian Hospital, was found guilty late Friday.   

The program, which Peirce is convicted of defrauding, provides mothers and expectant mothers with vouchers to purchase milk, formula and baby cereal.  It also provides nutritional counseling.

The jury found she used her WIC Program American Express card to purchase tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of home furnishings and other items and services, including "airfare from New York to Florida; car rentals; home improvement and building supplies; home decorations including a stained glass ceiling lamp, a bordeaux bench, and a wall sculpture," according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She then doctored her expense reports claiming the expenses were legitimate.

The jury also found that she arranged for her secretary, Miriam Colgan, to submit for payment about $15,275 worth of bodega invoices for groceries that were never in fact received. Instead, when the WIC Program paid the invoices the bodega kicked the money back to Colgan, who has separately pleaded guilty to a theft and a conspiracy charge.

And Peirce paid a cleaning company, ProGlow, owned and operated by Colgan, $311,000 to clean the WIC offices at New York Presbyterian. In exchange, Peirce’s own home was cleaned about twice a week. Peirce and Colgan each have been convicted on one count of mail fraud in connection with the ProGlow scheme.

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