Former Nashua city volunteer pleads guilty to fraudulent use of Social Security number
August 11. 2017 1:20PM
NASHUA — A former volunteer grant writer for the city has pleaded guilty to Social Security fraud, and could face 5 years in prison for the offense.
Dana Michelle Lawrence, 43, of 17.5 Jefferson St., was arrested earlier this year after using an alias and allegedly trying to obtain routing numbers and account numbers for bank accounts belonging to the city during her work as a volunteer grant writer.
Authorities discovered during their investigation that Lawrence previously served a year in a Rhode Island prison for a theft offense, and although she was on probation for nine years, “she absconded from supervision and a warrant was ultimately issued for her arrest,” according to a release issued by Acting U.S. Attorney John Farley for the District of New Hampshire.
Lawrence eventually moved to New Hampshire where Kimberly Kleiner, chief of staff for Mayor Jim Donchess, reported to police that Lawrence was not following city grant writing protocol.
Nashua police, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, obtained a copy of a lease application that Lawrence used to rent an apartment in Nashua.
On the application, Lawrence again used an alias and a Social Security number assigned to another person, according to the release.
While searching her apartment, authorities found documents that contained several different names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers, according to the release.
Lawrence, who pleaded guilty this week, will be sentenced on Nov. 28 and could face five years in prison for the offense.
Police said earlier that they believe Lawrence could possibly have been involved in significant fraud schemes across the nation as she traveled through nine other states using various aliases.
Nashua police are continuing to work with the FBI to identify any additional victims of fraud or theft.
According to court documents, Lawrence told police that she was “on the run from an unknown male who she said had physically assaulted her and was stalking her,” court documents state. Lawrence claims she lied about her Social Security number on her lease application in an effort to keep herself and her 4-year-old daughter safe from the man allegedly stalking her.
The city did not suffer any financial loss or any account compromise from the incident; Lawrence did secure a $30,000 grant for a city playground prior to her arrest.