News and Press Releases

Judy Lyon Hammack Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour

Friday, July 31, 2009

Bill Mercer, United States Attorney for the District of Montana, announced today that during a federal court session in Missoula on July 30, 2009, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, JULY LYON HAMMACK, a 47-year-old resident of Kalispell, pled guilty to bank fraud. Sentencing is set for November 6, 2009. She is currently released on special conditions.

In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:

From 2004 until 2008, HAMMACK worked as an independent contractor accountant/bookkeeper for several businesses in the Kalispell area, including Mark Construction and Nielsen Masonry, Inc.

From 2004 to 2006, HAMMACK embezzled money from Mark Construction.

From 2006 to 2007, she embezzled money from Nielsen Masonry.

HAMMACK effected her theft by several different means. Sometimes she would inflate her paycheck by paying herself more than she had earned for a particular time period. Other times she would write herself checks to which she was not entitled and either make no entries or make false entries in Quickbooks to cover her fraud. HAMMACK occasionally forged her employers' signatures on the fraudulent checks, and occasionally asked her employers to pre-sign the checks before entering fraudulent amounts. The checks were drawn on Nielsen Masonry's Glacier Bank account.

On January 14, 2008, HAMMACK'S supervisors at Nielsen Masonry confronted her after discovering accounting discrepancies in the company's records. HAMMACK admitted that she had been stealing money from the business. An audit commissioned by Nielsen Masonry found $157,318.20 in stolen funds. HAMMACK admits to stealing at least $113,171.70.

After HAMMACK was confronted by Nielsen Masonry, she contacted her other clients to admit her theft from Nielsen. She then told her other clients, including Mark Construction, that she did not steal from them.

On January 30, 2008, HAMMACK was interviewed and admitted stealing money from Nielsen Masonry, but denied embezzling from any other clients. She reviewed company bank statements with the investigating agents and made notations on checks she knew to be fraudulent as well as checks that were possibly fraudulent and legitimate checks.

Sometime in late February or early March 2008, HAMMACK called the owner of Mark Construction and admitted that she also embezzled money from his company and that he should audit his books. The result of Mark Construction's audit revealed that HAMMACK had stolen $70,421.57 over a two-year period.

HAMMACK faces possible penalties of 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine and 5 years supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Kalispell.

A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.



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