News and Press Releases

Company Bookkeeper Sentenced For Embezzlement And Tax Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2011

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Leeds woman to three years and five months in prison on charges related to her embezzling more than $400,000 from her employer, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael D. McDaniel and Postal Inspector Frank Dyer.

U.S. District Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced STACIA WOODMAN, 36, on five counts of mail fraud and three counts of tax fraud. Woodman pleaded guilty to the charges in February. Judge Coogler ordered her to serve three years supervised release following completion of her prison term.

From 2000 to 2009, while Woodman worked as a bookkeeper for J. Loper and Company, a Birmingham landscaping business, she engaged in a scheme to pay some of her personal expenses using her employer’s funds. Woodman concealed her fraud by arranging for company checks to appear on the company’s books and records as if they were issued for legitimate business expenses. Woodman concealed from the company’s owner and manager bank overdraft fees and notices to avoid alerting her employer that funds were being misappropriated. Over the course of her scheme, Woodman stole about $427,488.

In addition to the theft from her employer, Woodman failed to report on her personal income tax returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008 the income she received as a result of her fraud. The tax loss totaled $60,232 for the three years of under-reported income.

“Woodman was a trusted employee who abused her position of trust to personally benefit herself, and she criminally avoided her income tax obligations,” Vance said. “The nature of Woodman’s conduct was especially egregious because her conduct involved writing dozens of company checks for her own personal expenses and then using her knowledge of the company’s bookkeeping system to avoid detection by the company’s managers and owner.”
“Individuals thinking about participating in fraudulent schemes, including failing to report all forms of income, should stop in their tracks and simply look at the consequences of taking the next step,” McDaniel said. “Those consequences may include going to prison, being branded a convicted felon for the rest of their lives, and paying back all the taxes owed, plus steep penalties and interest.”
Judge Coogler ordered Woodman to pay $427,488 in restitution to her employer and determined that the Internal Revenue Service was entitled to $60,232 for the unpaid taxes.

The FBI, IRS and U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lloyd Peeples prosecuted the case.

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