Woman steals ID to get six-figure job, but can't do the work

Prosecutors say a 41-year-old woman used another woman's ID to get a job in Louisiana and was quickly promoted to a senior position with a six-figure salary, but her scheme had a flaw: She couldn't do the work.

A St. Tammany Parish jury deliberated just 15 minutes before convicting Cindy White of Slidell of identity theft, District Attorney Warren Montgomery announced by email Friday. District Judge Scott Gardner scheduled sentencing April 24 and could give her up to 10 years in prison.

White was accused of emptying a co-worker's bank account through identity theft while working for the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office in 1997. She pleaded guilty that year to two counts of forgery but her probation ended in 1999 when "the court received information that she was deceased," Montgomery said.

Diversified Food and Seasonings hired White in 2015 as a human resources manager at $95,000 a year, and promoted her five months later to a $105,000 position as senior human resources director. Her fraud was exposed after the company realized she was having trouble with jobs that should have been within her claimed ability, and was delegating much of her work, Montgomery said.

Investigators found she had copied another woman's resume from LinkedIn and stolen her identity numbers from another website. The other woman had a name similar to White's, Montgomery said.

White admitted in a statement to investigators that she fraudulently cited the victim's educational experience and Social Security number to get the job.

Her attorney argued in court that White earned the $56,200 she was paid, according to the news release.

Diversified Food and Seasonings is a company that Popeyes fried chicken founder Al Copeland kept when he lost the fast-food chain in a 1990s bankruptcy case. Diversified kept an exclusive contract to supply seasonings for Popeyes, and according to its website supplies other restaurant chains and institutions with seasonings, batters, breadings and cooked foods. In 2014, it made a $43 million deal to sell many Popeyes recipes to Atlanta-based Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc., ending a $3.1 million annual royalty payment.