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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

The Slow Steal

It’s unknown if the company knew the extent of crimes in their new employee’s past—writing bad checks, embezzlement, forgery, and larceny, but I'd guess they didn’t.

After she served time for embezzlement and being ordered to pay over $250,000 in restitution, she began working for a different company in the shipping department and, over the next 20 years, promoted to various positions.

About ten years after her hiring, she became the Vice President of the company. Five years later, she became the Chief Executive Officer—the one who controlled the money.

The son of the business owner whom she first embezzled said,

“I remember her as being very outgoing and assertive, like she was going to get things done. And she was believable.”

The company began experiencing difficulties—vendors withholding products because of late payments, low inventory, employees' credit cards denied, employees not being paid on time, employees insurance cancelled. These difficulties prompted an internal investigation. The company fired the CEO.

For about seven years, through fraudulent company credit card purchases, company checks, internal transactions, and wire transfers, she diverted over $15 million from the company to herself and her new luxury clothing and boutique business she’d started. With the stolen money, she paid for her lavish lifestyle, a family wedding, travel for herself, family and friends, jewelry, and real estate. All totaled 342 transactions in her slow steal of the company’s money.

Rather than go to trial, in a plea agreement, the former CEO pleaded guilty to wire fraud and embezzling over $15 million. A judge sentenced the 53-year-old to eight years in prison ordered her to pay over $17 million in restitution and serve three years of court supervision after released from prison. #embezzlement #wirefraud

Source: U.S. District Court, U.S. Department of Justice, Statesville Record & Landmark, The Taylorsville Times, Hickory Daily Record

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