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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


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


NOVEMBER 30, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


PARKVILLE WOMAN SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLING

$440,000 FROM NKC FIRM


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Parkville, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for mail fraud and identity theft related to embezzling more than $440,000 from her employer, as well as filing a false tax return.


             Jenifer Lyne Merriman, 43, of Parkville, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan, Jr., this morning to three years and one month in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Merriman to pay $440,430 in restitution.


             On Aug. 7, 2007, Merriman pleaded guilty to mail fraud, filing a false tax return and identity theft. Merriman was employed as the office manager of Boschert Equipment Company (BECO), a small, family-owned business in North Kansas City, Mo. BECO distributes industrial parts for process heating, including temperature sensors. As part of her job, Merriman maintained BECO’s computerized accounting and payroll systems. For each pay period, she printed payroll checks and presented them to the company’s owner, William Boschert, for his review and signature. In addition, she performed secretarial duties, including picking up mail from the company’s post office box.


             By pleading guilty today, Merriman admitted that she drafted and printed payroll checks in her own name, which she did not present to her employer. Instead, Merriman forged his signature and deposited the checks into her personal bank accounts. Merriman also admitted that she drafted company checks to pay for her personal credit card bills and that she incurred $3,331 in unauthorized expenses to the company at retailers, including Sam’s Club and OfficeMax.


             On at least 184 occasions from Nov. 1, 2000, to May 9, 2006, Merriman fraudulently embezzled company checks totaling at least $440,430. In each case, she forged the signature of her employer on the check without his permission.


             Merriman also admitted that she failed to report the money she embezzled as income on her annual income tax returns.


             Under the terms of the plea agreement, Merriman must pay the Internal Revenue Service $116,602 in back taxes. Merriman must also forfeit to her former employer her interest in BECO’s profit sharing trust, which as of Feb. 29, 2007, had a balance of $13,257, along with unpaid compensation from BECO for 51.25 hours she worked in May 2006, for which her gross pay would have totaled $1,025.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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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