According to federal prosecutors, a former office manager for a Pennsylvania repossession company located in Whitehall Township reportedly embezzled almost $562,000 from the business. In addition, the woman allegedly underreported her income in order to avoid paying over $44,000 in federal taxes. On July 21, federal prosecutors charged her with tax evasion, identity theft and wire fraud. The federal charges are expected to replace charges filed against her in 2012.
She was originally charged in Lehigh County Court with evidence tampering, receiving stolen property, computer trespass, theft and arson. The arson charges were filed in connection with a fire of suspicious origins that occurred the day after Christmas in 2010. The defendant allegedly went to the office the day before to drop off paperwork. Reportedly, the owner of the business had started to suspect that someone had been embezzling funds from the business.
After the fire took place, the woman told the company's owner that she had taken $1,500 from the company to pay for a birthday party for her daughter. According to court papers, she later admitted to her boss that she had embezzled between $50,000 and $75,000.
White collar crimes are difficult cases for prosecutors to win. One reason for this is there is often a great deal of complicated documentation needed to demonstrate fraud or embezzlement. Another reason is it is difficult to prove that the person intended to commit fraud; the individual may simply have been demonstrating incompetence, for example. In this story, the defendant admitted to her boss that she had taken funds from the business. A criminal defense attorney may caution defendants against admitting that they have committed a crime. If the confession has already taken place, an attorney might suggest a plea bargain, as opposed to a trial.
Source: CPA Practice Advisor, "Feds Charge Pennsylvania Woman with Embezzling $562K ", Peter Hall, July 26, 2014