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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Former Vice President Of Finance Pleads Guilty To Fraud Scheme And Tax Evasion

SAN FRANCISCO - Stella W. Kwan pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion in federal court in San Francisco yesterday, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

In pleading guilty, Ms. Kwan admitted that she served as the Vice President of Finance for Bite Communications, a global marketing and management consulting company with offices around the world, including in San Francisco. Ms. Kwan was responsible for maintaining Bite’s financial books and records and handling incoming and outgoing funds. Ms. Kwan admitted that she prepared and signed more than 60 unauthorized checks payable to herself or for her benefit, including paying her personal American Express bills. In all, Ms. Kwan admitted that from 2008 until she was terminated in 2012, she defrauded her employer out of more than $2 million. Ms. Kwan also admitted that, during the same time period, she committed tax evasion by understating the taxable income on her federal income tax returns.

Ms. Kwan, 43, of San Francisco, was charged by Information on August 22, 2013, with one count of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, and one count of tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201. Under the plea agreement, Ms. Kwan pled guilty to both counts.

Ms. Kwan’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 28, 2014, before The Honorable William H. Alsup, U.S. District Court Judge, in San Francisco. The maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, is 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and restitution. The maximum statutory penalty for tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201, is 5 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and restitution. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Doug Sprague is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of legal tech Rayneisha Booth The prosecution is the result of a six-month investigation by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.