FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
AUSA VICKIE E. LEDUC or
MARCIA MURPHY at 410-209-4885
January 13, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FORMER MARRIOTT EMPLOYEE PLEADS GUILTY IN SCHEME TO EMBEZZLE AT LEAST $200,000
Baltimore, Maryland - Lorraine Wakefield, age 51, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud in connection with a scheme to embezzle at least $200,000 from Marriott International.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge David Beach of the United States Secret Service – Washington Field Office; and Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department.
According to the her plea agreement, Wakefield was employed by Marriott International from 2001 through 2010. As part of her job responsibilities, Wakefield managed the corporate credit card expense logging and payment for the executives she supported, as well as managing the executives’ travel expense reporter and requests for reimbursement of out of pocket expenses.
While employed by Marriott, Wakefield admitted that she embezzled between $200,000 and $1 million, by abusing her position. Specifically, Wakefield incurred personal expenses on her corporate credit card as well as the corporate credit cards of the executives she supported, filed false travel expense reports to conceal her fraudulent corporate credit card expenses, and filed false invoices to cause Marriott checks to be issued to pay her personal American Express card.
Wakefield faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud. U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz scheduled his sentencing for April 20, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Secret Service and Montgomery County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jonathan Su and Arun Rao, who are prosecuting the case.