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Judge orders ex-Durham official to repay city for fraud

Posted December 21, 2010

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— A judge has ordered a former Durham official to pay the city $5,000 a month, starting in January, to make up for money she skimmed from a federal small-business loan program.

Anita Bennett pleaded guilty in October 2007 to 20 counts of obtaining property by false pretense and was sentenced to nearly three years in prison. She also was ordered to pay $180,789 in restitution.

Bennett immediately repaid the city $50,000, but officials said she hadn't made any payments since being released from prison and refused to sign a payment schedule. So, she was taken to court on a probation violation.

Durham officials contracted with Bennett in 1999 to run the federal program, which was designed to encourage small businesses to open in low-income areas. She was fired from her job in 2001.

Authorities said she issued more than $800,000 in loans to nonexistent companies and funneled some of that money into her personal accounts.

Bennett's sister, Kathy Fenner, also was convicted of obtaining property by false pretense and fraudulent conspiracy in the case. She was placed on probation, and officials said she has repaid almost all of the $42,400 in restitution she was ordered to pay.


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  • alwayslovingu30 Dec 21, 2010

    Ajudge can order that but cannot make A police officer who commits A crime brought to court for justice my version of justice is A little different,if the crooked politicians will not help I will get it done myself one way or another

  • didisaythat Dec 21, 2010

    Isn't this similar to providing loans to non qualiving home buyers. That caused the housing market to crash. This was targeting businesses to open in non qualifing areas and that turned out real well. And we have how many cases of food stamp fraud...oh sorry they have a debit card now. Still lots of fraud. Medicare fraud...Do I see a trend.

  • KwaziMojo Dec 21, 2010

    Anita Bennett? Anita Conscience is more like it.

  • mramorak Dec 21, 2010

    if this were me i would have gotten 14 years!

  • gmuny33 Dec 21, 2010

    Durham has this to discuss, but we don't even want to start down the list of higher profile crooks who have gone to jail and need to go to jail in Raleigh, for much more money than what she took. NO the right people, you can have a felony, and still be able to the right to possess a gun. It's called the Eas(l)y rule.

  • sckinton60 Dec 21, 2010

    Now when are you going to report about the Durham police officer, 2nd DWI, on administrative leave with pay? WTVD did.

  • GetRight Dec 21, 2010

    I'm tellin' ya guys, we need to bring back the work farms and hard labor camps. Take these folks that are going to serve several years in prison and make them productive. Do this and you'll lower recidivism drastically, which is SUPPOSED to be the whole idea. If this were the system then it would be no big deal to take someone like this who refuses to comply and you put her to work. Besides that you could make her work for a nominal "pay rate" to repay the entire amount she stole.

    Work camps!

  • edbuck51 Dec 21, 2010

    a lot of black people work hard everyday, try hard to raise their kids right and unforunately, this is and the gangsters are what makes the news on regular basis

  • artist Dec 21, 2010

    "Don't employers run criminal histories on applicants for positions such as this?."

    Not in Durham... if you are non-white of course... and using entitlement funds for non-whites... of course.

    But- mis-place 800k... and repay 142k?

    Oh... I see... it's federal money... so who cares, right?

  • Mugu Dec 21, 2010

    If you don't pay your child support, you go to jail... if you don't repay restitution, you should go to jail too.

    We should go a step further and jail all deadbeats who do not pay their car payments, mortgages, bank loans and credit cards.