BOSTON – A Haverhill woman was charged yesterday with using PayPal as part of a scheme to embezzle close to $1 million from her employer, a privately-held information technology staffing company based in Massachusetts.
Anita Allen, 34, was indicted on wire fraud charges. Allen was previously arrested on a criminal complaint at the airport in Charleston, S.C., and has remained in custody since that time.
According to the indictment, Allen, who worked as an accounts payable specialist, defrauded the company over a period of more than five years by directing dozens of transfers of money from a dormant company PayPal account to a PayPal account in her own name. Allen then forwarded the money from her PayPal account to her personal bank account, and spent it on day-to-day living expenses, travel, and the purchase of several vintage automobiles.
In addition, Allen charged numerous personal purchases to a company credit card, including multiple cruises on Norwegian Caribbean Lines, and purchases at retailers including Amazon.com and The Disney Store. Allen succeeded in hiding the fraud scheme by doctoring monthly credit card statements and falsifying entries in the very accounting journals it was her responsibility to maintain. In total, the fraud resulted in a loss to the company approaching $1 million.
If convicted, Allen faces a maximum sentence under the statute of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain to the defendant or gross loss to the victim. The government is also seeking forfeiture of classic cars purchased by the defendant with proceeds of the fraud, including a 1951 Chevrolet Fleetline sedan, a 1965 Factory Replica Cobra roadster, a 1967 Ford Mustang coupe, and a 1970 Dodge Challenger.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement. The case is being prosecuted by Stephen E. Frank of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.