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Louisiana woman charged with embezzling from non-profit employer

A Louisiana woman has been charged with embezzling more than $245,000 from a Metairie-based non-profit organization where she was the chief financial officer for several years, according to an announcement by the U.S. Attorney's Office. The 38-year-old suspect is accused of embezzlement through the forging of checks from her employer, which was not named by the prosecutor's office. The corporation is said to provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities.

As chief financial officer, the suspect's responsibilities included reconciling financial and bank statements for the non-profit, as well as entering financial data into the business' accounting programs and logging work hours for employees who provided personal care to clients. According to the U.S. Attorney's office, she did not have check-signing authority in her or anyone else's name without prior permission.

According to court records, the suspect would disguise the name of the payee in the organization's computer accounting program, replacing it with a different name. She would then remove her name from the monthly bank statements replacing it with a different payee which appeared on the approved list of payees.

The report stated she knowingly had in her possession forged checks payable to others as well as herself from February 2004 up until her last day at the agency, which was January 26, 2011. She allegedly forged the names of the director and president of the organization on the checks made out to herself and then deposited these checks into her personal bank account.

If convicted on the criminal charges, she could be facing up to ten years in prison as well as a fine of up to $250,000. She could also be required to undergo 3 years of supervised release, following her release from prison. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Jon Maestri. No report on whether the suspect has retained the services of a criminal defense attorney.

Although the evidence may appear to be stacked against her, the suspect is innocent until proven guilty and is due her day in court. With so much at stake, it could be in her best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney which will provide a vigorous defense of her rights and ensure she is treated fairly by the criminal justice system at every step.

Source: BayouBuzz.com Louisiana, "Terrytown woman accused of forgery, costing corporation $245, 386," May 23, 2012

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