A Capitol Heights woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $140,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Attorneys announced.

Sheila Howard, 56, worked for FEMA since 1986 and took a position with the agency as a human resources specialist in June 2008. Using her access to FEMA's payroll processing system, Howard processed 28 fraudulent payments for overtime, cash bonuses and other compensation for 18 former agency employees, as well as one current employee, according to prosecutors.

Those payments were deposited in any one of four bank accounts associated with Howard, totaling $143,414.39 between Dec. 7, 2009 and March 31, 2011, according to prosecutors.

None of the employees were aware Howard was misusing their information in the scheme.

Howards sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 1. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

bgiles@washingtonexaminer.com