Former Indiana Pension Staffer Sentenced in ID Theft Case

December 23, 2003 ( - Former Indiana Public Employees' Retirement Fund (PERF) staffer and convicted identity thief Shaunna Stone has been sentenced to a little more than four years behind bars for stealing more than $22,000 and the identities of seven pensioners.

US District Judge Sarah Evans Barker handed down Stone’s prison sentence, telling Stone, “These are real lives, and when you think about all the things you can steal from someone, a person’s identity is maybe the worst,” according to an Indianapolis Star report.

Stone originally pleaded guilty in September to a single count of bank fraud and 13 counts of misusing the Social Security numbers of other people in addition to admitting swiping $22,586 and seven identities from the fund (See Former Indiana Pension Worker Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges ).   However, sentencing for Stone was put on hold, since she was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time of her guilty plea.

The misdealings were done during Stone’s tenure as a refunds analyst at the $10 billion pension fund from September 2001 to May 2002. In that job, she had access to the money and personal information of more than 500,000 public employees, retirees and their families.   Overall, Stone made more than 5,600 queries into members’ accounts during her eight-month stint at the fund.   Ultimately, she altered information in some of those accounts, causing 28 checks to be cut to herself.

Other Fund Deviants

As it turns out, the apple did not fall far from the PERF benefit department tree.   Stone’s former supervisor, and former PERF chief benefits officer, Walter Kevin Scott was convicted of embezzling $659,000 from his former employer, Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc., and for stealing another man’s identity to land his job at PERF.  Scott resigned from his post at PERF in August of 2002 after his criminal past was revealed to state officials (SeeProbe Continues into Former Pension Benefits Officer).   Scott is currently awaiting sentencing for his crimes.   His original earlier December sentencing date was pushed back after he agreed to revise his plea agreement.  In the revised plea agreement Scott admitted bribing employees at the Volunteers of America work-release facility to get preferential treatment.

Also in September a federal indictment was handed down against another former PERF employee, James Spaulding, for allegedly leading an eight-person conspiracy to steal $226,873 from the fund, which ultimately led to his arrest in August (See Accused PERF Fraud Perpetrator Ordered To Jail Until Trial ).  The theft was orchestrated during Spaulding’s temporary employment for the fund from January 2002 to July 2002, where the accusation of altering members’ accounts and causing checks to be cut from the fund in the names of his friends arose.