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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN



Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html



APRIL 4, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER KNOB KNOSTER WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO

EMBEZZLING FROM WARRENSBURG EMPLOYER


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Bradley J. Schlozman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former Knob Knoster, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a wire fraud scheme in which she embezzled more than $81,000 from her Warrensburg, Mo., employer.


             Christy Hoagland, 37, of Hampton, Va., formerly of Knob Knoster, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan this morning to a federal information that charges her with wire fraud.


            By pleading guilty today, Hoagland admitted that, from May 16, 2002, to March 22, 2006, she stole $81,097 from Appraisal Associates, a mortgage appraisal company in Warrensburg where she was employed as the office manager. Appraisal Associates discovered the embezzlement after Hoagland resigned, when Wal-Mart sent a bill to the company from a credit account that the company’s owner had previously closed. Hoagland had reopened the account without permission for her own personal use.


            Each month, Hoagland admitted, she arranged by telephone to make electronic wire transfers of funds from her employer’s business checking account to pay her personal creditors for her personal bills. All of these payments were unauthorized by her employer, and they were unrelated to Appraisal Associates. The total sum of money that Hoagland embezzled in this manner was $61,494.  


            Hoagland also admitted that, on at least 18 occasions, without authority, she drafted company checks to herself, forging owner Vernon Elsberry’s name and signature onto each check The total amount of money that Hoagland obtained in this manner was $14,827. It was further part of the scheme that, on multiple occasions Hoagland made unauthorized charges to office credit accounts at creditors, including Wal-Mart and Office Depot. The total value of the merchandise Hoagland obtained in this manner was $4,776.


            In order to conceal the fact that she was writing checks to pay for her personal expenses, Hoagland knowingly made false entries, and deleted other entries altogether, in the company’s records.


            The specific count of wire fraud contained in the information charges Hoagland with making a telephone call from Warrensburg to the Monogram Credit Card Bank of Georgia (MCCBG) on January 5, 2005. She arranged for an electronic fund transfer, entering the account information for Appraisal Associate’s business checking account using her telephone. Because of the account information Hoagland purposefully provided and verified, funds totaling $1,638.38 were wired interstate from First Central Bank in Warrensburg to MCCBG’s account at Wachovia Bank in Orlando, Florida.


            Under federal statutes, Hoagland could be subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html