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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


MATT J. WHITWORTH


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 17, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


LAKE OZARK WOMAN SENTENCED FOR $470,000

BANK FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME


            JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Lake Ozark, Mo., woman has been sentenced in federal court for a scheme to defraud her former employer of approximately $470,000.


            Lorraine Jeanette Hess, 51, of Lake Ozark, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Nanette K. Laughrey on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009, to two years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Hess to pay $470,190 in restitution to her former employer.


            On June 4, 2009, Hess pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering. Hess was employed as a bookkeeper at SSL Enterprises from May 2006 through November 2007. Hess admitted that, primarily between July and October 2007, she made seven unauthorized wire transfers from an SSL Enterprises bank account to her personal bank account. She also admitted that, between August 2006 and October 2007, she created 18 unauthorized checks for which she either forged her employer’s name or used a signature stamp. All of the checks were made payable to Hess and she deposited them into her personal bank account. The total loss for this portion of the fraud was more than $300,000.


            Hess’s employer had a personal credit card with Wachovia. Hess obtained 11 customer checks from Wachovia, and wrote the checks payable to herself, forging her employer’s signature on each check and depositing the checks into her personal checking account. SSL Enterprises had a business credit card account with American Express. Hess utilized the business credit card to charge various unauthorized personal expenses, including groceries, clothing, spa visits, furniture, Amazon.com purchases and electronic equipment.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lawrence E. Miller. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Camden County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department.

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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