Case #9: High Flying Fraudster
The United States Attorney’s Office announced that a person whom we shall refer to as “Sara” was sentenced in federal court in February 2010 to 15 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered “Sara” as stipulated in her plea agreement to transfer title of an experimental kit airplane estimated to be valued at between $70,000 and $80,000 to her former employer, the primary victim of her bank fraud scheme, and to pay $15,000 in restitution to his insurance company.
The Alleged Scheme:
“Sara” admitted that, between March 30, 2002 and December 27, 2005, she wrote false and fraudulent checks to herself on the business account of a dental practice where she worked. “Sara” also admitted that she covertly used a stamp with the dentist’s signature, without his knowledge or authorization, for the signature on the checks. She later deposited these checks into her personal bank account. Allegedly, “Sara” concealed her fraudulent acts by destroying the returned checks that were delivered with the monthly bank statement and by falsifying or deleting entries in the business accounting software program. The amount of loss was $77,552.
The Scheme’s Downfall:
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. No further information provided.
- It appears that this bookkeeper was able to open mail, account-for and record the status of incoming checks, make entries into the computer system, and have uncontrolled access to the inkpad signature stamp without close supervisory oversight and control. The employee who opens incoming mails should not be the same individual recording receivables and making deposits. Inkpad signature stamps are high-risk items and therefore, should not be used.
- “Sara” concealed her fraud by destroying the returned checks that were delivered with the monthly bank statement and by falsifying or deleting entries in the business accounting software program. Monthly bank statements should always be sent to a different individual other than the person authorized to record or disburse funds.
Be informed – learn from the experiences of others. Get involved – and YOU will be prepared.
Read more in Business Fraud: From Trust To Betrayal