OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
APRIL 19, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEST PLAINS WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO STEALING
$742,000 FROM EMPLOYER, FALSE TAX RETURN
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a West Plains, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a scheme to embezzle more than $742,000 from her former employer.
Mary Elizabeth Hurtt, 58, of West Plains, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England this morning to uttering a forged security and filing a false tax return.
Hurtt was employed as a bookkeeper at White Electrical Services, Inc., from 1999 to June 5, 2007. White Electrical Services, founded as a family business in 1970 and incorporated in 1998, installed commercial security systems around the United States. White Electrical Services was closed on Jan. 1, 2008, and its assets were sold to another business.
By pleading guilty today, Hurtt admitted that, between January 2000 and May 2007, she embezzled $742,645 from White Electrical Services’ bank accounts. As part of the fraud scheme, Hurtt fraudulently endorsed and received payment on checks that were drawn on White Electrical Services. Hurtt forged the signatures of authorized persons and made withdrawals from the business bank account to purchase money orders for her personal use. Many of the checks she embezzled were intended to make the company’s quarterly tax payment to the Internal Revenue Service. Hurtt thus caused false Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Returns to be filed, resulting in an underpayment of $305,750.
Hurtt did not tell her CPA about the additional income she embezzled, and therefore the embezzled income was not reported on her tax returns, causing them to be false. Hurtt admitted that the additional tax she owed as a result totals $181,060.
This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the West Plains, Mo., Police Department.
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