Ocala courts: Woman pleads guilty to bilking school out of $616K

Here's a look at what happened in federal and state courts the week of Dec. 11:

U.S. v. Danielle Jane Liles

According to a Dec. 12 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, which includes Marion County, Danielle Jane Liles has agreed to plead guilty to eight counts of wire fraud.

Liles, of Summerfield, could face nearly 200 years in federal prison. She also could be fined $250,000.

The release notes the 41-year-old will be ordered to forfeit $616,793.43, which is the proceeds from her criminal activity.

Locally, Liles, who has been out of jail on bond, does not have a criminal record.

A sentencing date has not been set. She's represented by Andy Pozzuto of Alavi & Pozzuto in Ocala. Representing the government will be Assistant U.S. Attorney Hannah Nowalk.

Government officials said between Jan. 11, 2016 and April 10, 2023, Liles scammed Silver River Mentoring and Instruction, or SRMI, out of close to $620,000. SRMI, 2500 SE 44th Court, serves at-risk children in Marion and Citrus counties.

In the more than seven years, Liles, who handled payroll at the school, was able to pay herself extra with unauthorized paychecks issued in her name, authorities allege. She would then put false information into the school's accounting software. The scheme was uncovered in a financial review with school officials, records show.

She admitted to the theft, telling officials she was addicted to stealing from the payroll funds, federal officials said.

Liles turned herself in at the county jail earlier this year after an investigation by Ocala police officials. She was formally charged by local prosecutors with organized fraud/$50,000 or more. Last month, state officials said Liles had been indicted in federal court, so they dropped their local case.

The federal case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General.

State v. Shannon Le-Neir Montgomery

The State Attorney's Office has dropped charges against a man accused of organized fraud $20,000 or more.

In court filing dated Dec. 13, prosecutors said the likelihood of conviction at trial is minimal.

The 26-year-old Ocala man was accused by law enforcement officials of defrauding a bank. He had been charged with issuing a worthless check. Records show he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to time served.

Montgomery was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Gerod Rawls. A jury acquitted him of that charge earlier this month. Montgomery has been released from the county jail.

State v. Benson Jamal Rishaud Kinney & Dwayne O'Neal Smith

The State Attorney's Office on Dec. 12 said it has filed charges against Kinney and Smith relating to an incident that occurred last month.

The charges include robbery with a firearm, carjacking with a firearm and kidnapping.

Ocala police officers arrested the pair and accused them of kidnapping a man and forcing him to withdraw cash. Kinney, 36, and Smith, 30, both of Ocala, remain locked up in the jail. Records show the men are convicted felons.

The next hearings for the men are scheduled for next year.

Contact Austin L. Miller at austin.miller@starbanner.com or @almillerosb

This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: Federal courts: Woman pleads guilty to bilking Ocala school out of $616K