News and Press Releases

Etowah County Couple Must Serve 18 Months in Prison for Embezzlement and Repay $133,028

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2011

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced an Etowah County couple to 18 months in prison for hacking into their employer’s computer and embezzling more than $120,000, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

U.S. District Judge Inge P. Johnson sentenced Charles Allen Elliott, 38, and Carol Ann Elliott, 43, on forgery and computer fraud charges and ordered them to pay $120,000 in restitution to DWP Construction in Vestavia Hills and $13,028 to First Commercial Bank. They must serve three years supervised release after completing their prison terms.

The Elliotts pleaded guilty to the charges in December.

“This couple enjoyed positions of trust with their employer, which they abused in order to steal from the company for more than two years,” Vance said. “Their crimes ruined the business. This office will seek out and prosecute such fraud, which often cripples businesses and undermines our fragile economy,” she said.

“Crimes that drag down or destroy small businesses do damage to the whole community,” Maley said. “I would like to thank the Vestavia Hills Police Department and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department, which partnered with the FBI to investigate the case and see this crime prosecuted.”

The Elliotts embezzled from DWP Construction from about June 2006 to January 2009, according to their plea agreement. The plea agreement and other court records show the couple carried out their crimes as follows:

Charles Elliott worked on contract with the business to set up its computer network. He recommended his wife for a job, and she was hired as a bookkeeper and secretary. She issued forged checks on DWP’s bank account, and the couple used the proceeds of more than $120,000 for their personal finances. Between March 2008 and January 2009, Charles Elliott provided his wife with passwords and user names for the company’s computers, which she used to illegally obtain information about the business owner’s activities and possible knowledge of the Elliotts’ embezzlement.

The FBI, the Vestavia Hills Police Department and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Fortune prosecuted it.

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