Hampstead Woman Indicted for Embezzling Over $275,000 from Her Employer and Filing False Tax Returns
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment today against Sandra Iris Klaus, age 46, of Hampstead, Maryland, which adds aggravated identity theft and filing a false tax return to the mail fraud previously charged in connection with a scheme to steal $275,456 from her employer.
The superseding indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
According to the 17 count indictment, from March 2005 to March 2011 Klaus was employed by a roofing and sheet metal company located in Westminster, Maryland as an administrative assistant and bookkeeper. Klaus was responsible for preparing and submitting the employee weekly payroll and issuing checks to pay vendors. From January 2007 to March 23, 2011, Klaus allegedly diverted company funds to pay her personal credit card bills, and caused fraudulent payrolls checks to be issued to a fictitious employee, which Klaus then endorsed and cashed. Klaus allegedly used a rubber stamp with the name of an authorized company signatory printed on it to sign the company checks for her personal benefit. Klaus is also alleged to have inserted her name as payee on checks that were signed by an authorized person and given to Klaus to make payments for the business.
In an effort to conceal the scheme, the indictment further alleges that Klaus made entries into the company’s accounting software system to disguise checks she sent from the company’s bank account to pay her credit card bills as payments to legitimate vendors. Klaus also is alleged to have secretly set up a connection from her personal home computer to the company computer server so that she could make fraudulent entries into the company’s accounting system from home.
Further, the indictment alleges that Klaus used the name of another person, and forged that person’s signature on a letter that Klaus allegedly used to obtain a mortgage loan of $266,055.49 on a home in Hampstead. In addition, the indictment alleges that Klaus filed false tax returns for tax years 2007 through 2010. The indictment alleges that Klaus substantially underreported her income in those tax years because she did not include any of the funds stolen from her employer.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of $275,456.43, at least $132,905.88 of which is alleged to have been transferred to Klaus using fraudulently issued payroll checks; and at least $142,550.55 which Klaus allegedly transferred directly from the company bank accounts to make payments on her behalf.
Klaus faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each of 12 counts of mail fraud; two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft; and three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of four counts of filing a false tax return. Klaus is scheduled to have an initial appearance and arraignment on the new charges in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Friday, December 23, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. and trial is scheduled for March 19, 2012.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation for their work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Gregory R. Bockin, who is prosecuting the case.