Plea expected in fraud case

A former Prairieville resident is accused in Baton Rouge federal court of stealing more than $215,000 from workers compensation cases and a service firm that managed those cases for insurance companies.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cam T. Le said in a court filing Wednesday that Cynthia D. Windham, 49, intends to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud.

Windham resides in Henderson, Texas. She could not be located for comment in that city.

A call was placed Wednesday to a cellphone number that Windham once provided to East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies, but a recorded message said that number was “not available.”

Mark Upton, the assistant federal public defender for the Baton Rouge area, is assigned to Windham’s case.

Upton confirmed that, “She got a target letter, and we worked out a plea with the prosecutors.” He added, “No hearing has been set yet.”

Le and U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. charged Windham with bank fraud in a bill of information that was filed late Tuesday. Windham signed a waiver of her right to have a grand jury consider her case, court records show. The case is assigned to Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson.

Windham’s felony charge alleges she altered 62 checks, worth $83,879 and issued to other people by her employer, Strategic Case Management LLC. After those checks were altered, the charge written by Le alleges, they were deposited in Windham’s personal bank account.

Another 128 checks, totaling $132,099 and payable to Strategic Case Management, also were stolen by Windham, her charge alleges. Le alleged Windham “fraudulently endorsed the checks” before placing them in her personal account.

In a civil lawsuit filed against Windham in February 2010, Strategic Case Management said she was the firm’s “office manager, bookkeeper and collections and billing manager” for nine years before her firing in November 2009.

As in her federal charge, the company’s lawsuit in 19th Judicial District Court alleged that Windham stole money from the firm. The firm did not specify the loss in that suit.

The civil suit did not proceed to its conclusion. The last file entry was stamped Aug. 31, 2011, at which time Windham attorney Francis “Bo” Rougeou asked a judge for permission to withdraw from the case.

Rougeou said in that court filing he had been unable to reach Windham by telephone or letter after meeting with her “in a related criminal matter.”