HOUSTON – A 38-year-old Houston woman has been ordered to
prison for submitting falsified fund requests to an investment adviser for the
Basilian Father’s Missions of the Catholic Church (BFM), announced U.S.
Attorney Ryan Patrick. Rosina K. Blanco pleaded guilty Oct. 24, 2017, to one
count of wire fraud.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas ordered her to prison
for a total of 41 months. The sentence will be immediately followed by three
years of supervised release, during which time she can hold no job that has
financial responsibilities or access to sensitive or confidential information.
She was further ordered to pay $1,107,425.91 in restitution.
At the hearing, the court found Blanco caused more than $1
million in unauthorized transfers from BFM accounts to accounts in her name.
The court also heard about the effect Blanco’s criminal behavior has had on the
BFM, who offered a victim impact statement describing the deleterious effect to
the relationship of trust between the BFM and its donors and noting they had
likely lost donations as a result of Blanco’s scheme.
Blanco accomplished the theft by using a computer to
transmit fraudulent and falsified funds transfer requests from the Southern
District of Texas to the BFM investment manager in St. Louis who then
unwittingly transferred more than $1 million in BFM funds.
“From a position of great trust, this woman placed greater
importance on her dog than on the children many parishioners and donors worked
hard to support,” said Patrick. “She decided to treat herself to designer
handbags and thousands of dollars on doggy spa treatments. Brazen theft of this
magnitude is disgraceful.”
The BFM is headquartered in Sugar Land and raises money in
North America to support schools in Mexico and Colombia. It reports to the
Congregation of St. Basil, an order of Catholic priests headquartered in
Toronto, Canada. The BFM receives funding from several sources to include the
Congregation of St. Basil in Canada, individual mail solicitations and mission
On Aug. 31, 2015, Blanco was hired to be the bookkeeper for
the BFM. From September 2015 to October 2016, Blanco facilitated the transfer
of approximately $1,107,425 from BFM accounts to her personal accounts without
authorization. Instead of the funds going for mission and ministry work among
disadvantaged people in Colombia and Mexico, Blanco instead used the majority
of the money for personal expenses such as jewelry, furniture, luxury cars,
real estate, Louis Vuitton handbags, goods and services for her dog and other
She will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau
of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney
Belinda Beek prosecuted the case.