CEO of Prince George’s County non-profit facing federal wire and bank fraud charges

 

Date: June 9, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Greenbelt, Maryland — A federal criminal complaint was filed today charging Glenda Hodges of Clinton, Maryland with federal bank fraud and wire fraud charges in connection with the misuse of federal funds and other fraud related to non-profit and for-profit entities that Hodges operated in Clinton, Maryland.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Hodges owned and was the Chief Executive Officer of Still I Rise Incorporated, a non-profit entity which purported to provide services and resources to minority survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; Still I Rise Comprehensive Support & Training Services LLC ("CSST"), a for-profit entity; and the Women's Wellness Center (WWC), a for-profit medical weight loss clinic operated under the umbrella of CSST. Between 2010 and 2017, Hodges was awarded more than $2 million in grants from the United States Department of Justice's ("DOJ") Office of Violence Against Women ("OVW") and Prince George's County to implement a violence against women program through Still I Rise. However, as WWC—a financially unviable enterprise—continued to lose money, the affidavit alleges that Hodges resorted to committing fraud to fund WWC.

According to the affidavit, between 2010 and 2017, DOJ OVW awarded Still I Rise approximately $896,999 in DOJ OVW grants. Between 2012 and 2017, Prince George's County awarded Hodges an additional $1,179,000 in county grants. The three grants that DOJ OVW awarded Hodges and Still I Rise were authorized only for the stated purpose of implementing Still I Rise's non-profit program to address violence against women, and the funds were only authorized to cover the costs detailed in the respective budgets that Hodges submitted with the grant applications.

In early 2016, Hodges contacted DOJ OVW to express interest in applying for DOJ OVW's 2016 three-year grant and informed DOJ OVW that Still I Rise exhausted the 2014 grant (which also had a three-year duration) in only 16 months. DOJ OVW then conducted an initial review of Still I Rise's bank records and invoices, and discovered that Hodges was using much of the grant money for personal expenditures and to unlawfully support WWC, her for-profit entity. These expenditures allegedly included paying WWC staff salaries and rent, paying the mortgage at Hodges' personal property in North Carolina, and paying a personal cable account in North Carolina.

The affidavit alleges that on October 9, 2015, Hodges caused $134,800 to be stolen from Victim 1—a mutual fund in Pennsylvania—and wired into a bank account associated with Still I Rise, and then used the stolen funds for expenditures at WWC and for her personal benefit. In addition, on April 8, 2016, Hodges deposited a $72,938 altered business check related to a federal cancer research grant that had allegedly been stolen from Victim 2, a prominent university in Texas, into a different bank account opened in the name of Still I Rise and over which Hodges was the sole authorized signer.

Further, the affidavit alleges that between March 10 and August 26, 2016, Hodges fraudulently opened credit accounts at two financial institutions using the identifying information of Victim 3, an elderly volunteer at Still I Rise, accumulating at least $45,000 in debt. According to the affidavit, to secure one of the lines of credit, Hodges had Victim 3 medically transported to a nearby bank. When Victim 3 was brought to the bank, Victim 3 was in pain and in a wheelchair, and had an antibiotic catheter line running to her heart.

Finally, the affidavit alleges that WWC had severe cash flow problems, was not satisfying its payroll obligations, was withholding employment taxes that Hodges did not remit to the Internal Revenue Service, and without the knowledge of her weight-loss patients at WWC, was directing medical staff to replace fat-dissolution injectable compounds with saline solution.

If convicted, Hodges faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for each count of bank fraud and wire fraud. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Hodges is expected to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, but no date has been scheduled.

A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.