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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


BETH PHILLIPS


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

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


NOVEMBER 9, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


BLUE SPRINGS WOMAN SENTENCED FOR $825,000

BANK FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Blue Springs, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for a bank fraud and money laundering scheme in which she embezzled nearly $825,000 from her employer.


            Shanna M. Hutchens, 37, of Blue Springs, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to 46 months in federal prison without parole and immediately taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals. The court also ordered Hutchens to pay $818,987.96 in restitution.


            On Feb. 9, 2010, Hutchens pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.


            Hutchens worked as a bookkeeper for Richardson Hauling, Inc., in Sugar Creek, Mo. Beginning shortly after she was hired in December 2004 and continuing to October 2008, Hutchens made out company checks to herself and/or her husband and forged the business owners’ signatures on the checks. She then deposited those checks into her personal bank account or cashed them. Hutchens also drafted cashier’s checks on the account of Richardson Hauling, which were made out to herself or her husband, and which she cashed or deposited into her own account.


            Hutchens created 242 fraudulent checks that totaled $824,394.02. During the time that she was employed by Richardson Hauling, Hutchens earned approximately $11,000 per year for part-time employment.


            According to court documents, Hutchens and her husband used the stolen money to buy a bigger house and spent $30,000 for professional interior decoration. They bought or leased a series of at least 20 automotive/water vehicles – 16 during the embezzlement and four after being caught. They also paid for such items as cruises, Chiefs season tickets, a personal trainer, multiple trips to Las Vegas and a rental lake house in Warsaw, Mo.


            Although the Hutchens have sold numerous vehicles and appliances on Craigslist and eBay since being caught, according to court records, they have used that money for themselves rather than for restitution. For example, Hutchens bought her son a Chevrolet Blazer, paid for professionals to install Christmas lights on her house for the past two years, paid for a family cruise to the Bahamas in January 2010, continued to make payments on a 22-foot boat throughout 2010 and continued to pay $500 per month rent on a lake house in 2010. The only restitution that has been paid, according to court documents, was when Hutchens’ husband turned over three checks that had been issued to him, totaling $5,406.05, in the fall of 2008.


            Court documents also allege that, after being caught stealing from Richardson Hauling, Hutchens continued to commit financial crimes against additional victims, related to the purchases of two beauty shops.


            This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Mahoney. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Sugar Creek, Mo., Police 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

http://www.justice.gov/usao/mow/index.html