bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzling money from a heath care benefit program
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced that on January 21, 2010, Cheri Ray, of Wasilla, Alaska, pled guilty in federal court in Anchorage to embezzling money from a health care benefit program.
Ray, age 38, pled guilty in front of Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Aunnie Steward, who prosecuted the case, the facts supporting Ray’s plea reveal that from March 2003, through August 2006, while employed as a bookkeeper for a company receiving health care benefits, she embezzled and stole approximately $75,000.
According to information filed with the court, Ray used many methods to embezzle and steal the money from the company including, but not limited to, the following: Ray obtained a credit card in her own name that was billed to the company and used the card to make personal purchases, including buying airplane tickets for her family, paying a deposit on a new truck, and purchasing personal computers for her household; she withdrew cash from ATMs on the company’s credit card; she issued and negotiated duplicate paychecks to herself; paid personal bills with electronic transfers of funds from the company’s accounts; paid herself unearned wages over time; and made payments from the company’s accounts to her personal accounts.
Judge Beistline scheduled sentencing for Ray on April 5, 2010, at 10:00 am. The law provides for a maximum of ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The Anchorage Police Department Financial Crimes Unit, working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Ray.