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FORMER HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR EMBEZZLLEMENT FROM LANSING CONSULTING FIRM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis announced today that Lori Knechtel of Charlotte, Michigan, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $119,977.91 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker for embezzling more than $122,000.00 from her prior employer, Anderson Economic Group, LLC (“Anderson”), in East Lansing, Michigan. Upon completion of her sentence, Knechtel will serve three years on federal supervised release and complete 200 hours of community service.

Knechtel pled guilty on November 18, 2011, to the felony offense of access device fraud. She admitted to the unauthorized use of an American Express credit card issued to Anderson to purchase $36,113.37 in personal items, most of which were bought online using the Internet retailer Amazon.com. Knechtel also admitted to writing herself 47 unauthorized and forged Anderson checks in the amount of $86,524.67 in connection with her fraudulent purchases. Knechtel attempted to conceal her fraudulent purchases by intercepting the monthly account statements and preparing a false reconciliation of the credit card charges, rather than providing Anderson officers and employees with the actual and complete credit card statements each month.

Knechtel admitted using the credit card to purchase personal items for herself and her family, including family travel. Judge Jonker also noted that Knechtel committed the federal offense between September 2009 and August 2010, while she was serving a state felony probation sentence in Washtenaw County for embezzling from her prior employer.

U.S. Attorney Davis stated: “Ms. Knechtel abused her position to steal from her employer, who entrusted her to provide her honest and loyal services to the consulting firm. Credit card, and other access device, fraud strikes at the heart of our nation’s financial infrastructure. This office, along with its federal and state law enforcement partners, will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who embezzle money using our nation’s credit and financial institutions.”

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris O’Connor and investigated by the Lansing office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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