FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 28, 2014
For Information Contact:
Former Employee Sentenced to Three Years in Prison
For Stealing Nearly $95,000 From Real Estate Company
-Defendant Secretly Collected Rents, Pocketing the Money for Herself-
WASHINGTON – Kirsten Wilkinson, 34, of Dumfries, Va., was sentenced today to three years in prison for stealing nearly $95,000 from a real estate company where she worked as a personal assistant, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr.
Among other things, the government’s evidence showed, Wilkinson secretly collected rent on apartments that were not her own.
Wilkinson pled guilty in February 2014, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to charges of interstate transportation of stolen property and second-degree theft. She was sentenced by the Honorable Ketanji Brown Jackson. Upon completion of her prison term, Wilkinson will be placed on three years of supervised release. While on supervised release, the judge barred Wilkinson from opening new credit cards or working in a position in which she would be utilizing financial accounts. Wilkinson also must pay $94,757 to her former employer. Finally, she is subject to a forfeiture money judgment in the same amount.
According to the government’s evidence, Wilkinson began work in November 2010 as a personal assistant for a small company that renovates and refurbishes buildings throughout Washington, D.C. She carried out a scheme to rent the company’s properties for her own gain, secretly telling tenants and potential tenants to write rental checks to her in her own name.
The scheme involved multiple individuals who believed Wilkinson owned and operated the apartments. When they needed assistance, she made clear that she was the specific point of contact for any issues that might arise. Not only did she dupe these unsuspecting potential tenants through advertisements on Craigslist, but her scheme continued for more than a year, leading to theft of $82,959 in rental income that properly belonged to her employer.
In addition, according to the government’s evidence, Wilkinson made $11,798 in unauthorized charges for personal expenses from her employer’s credit cards.
At sentencing, the government noted that Wilkinson has six prior convictions in Virginia for offenses such as embezzlement, identify theft, larceny, and similar crimes. In this case, her actions nearly bankrupted her employer’s company.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), especially its Fraud Unit. He also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialist Donna Galindo; Investigative Analyst Sharon Johnson; former Paralegal Specialist Shanna Hays, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Zia Faruqui, who assisted with forfeiture issues. Finally, he expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Selden, who prosecuted the case.