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Lola Thrower, a former official at the Arkansas department of health and human services, was sentenced to five years in prison followed by three years of supervised probation stemming from her involvement in the theft of more than $10,000 in state AIDS funds, the Associated Press reports. Thrower, the former head of the health department's HIV grant program, pleaded guilty to a federal charge of aiding and abetting the theft of government property.
According to a federal indictment, Thrower and her husband were involved in several schemes, including the misappropriation of more than $10,500 in AIDS funds. She was accused of creating a nonprofit organization, BMON, and then directing state AIDS funds to the agency. Records show that $3,085 from the $10,000 to the agency was used to pay invoices at the nonprofit but that a BMON debit card also was used to purchase a $5,000 diamond ring.
Thrower's husband, Malik Blackmon, also has been accused of misusing government funds through this scheme and others coordinated by Thrower, as well as two other Arkansas residents. Blackmon has been accepted into a pretrial diversion program. (The Advocate)