Cynthia Jane Rasmussen Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Missoula, on August 11, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, CYNTHIA JANE RASMUSSEN, a 55-year-old resident of Kalispell, pled guilty to wire fraud. Sentencing has been set for November 18, 2010. 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 February 2008, RASMUSSEN was employed in the Kalispell area by the Montana Academy. On approximately February 14, 2008, one of her employers approached RASMUSSEN about tensions in the office among members of the administrative staff. During that conversation, RASMUSSEN admitted stealing approximately $10,000 from the Montana Academy via unauthorized payroll deposits. Approximately one week later, RASMUSSEN presented her employer with a typed accounting of what she had stolen. That accounting showed that RASMUSSEN had taken approximately $72,000.
A review of Montana Academy's and RASMUSSEN's bank records revealed that beginning in about 2005 and continuing until February of 2008, RASMUSSEN stole funds under her control from Montana Academy. RASMUSSEN effected her scheme by writing herself multiple payroll paychecks or increasing her salary when she processed the payroll electronically. She also used a company credit card for personal expenses. RASMUSSEN disguised her activities by falsely coding checks and electronic transfers in the accounting system as payments to vendors, other companies, and voided checks.
Between January 2005 and December 2006, more than $250,000 from Montana Academy was deposited into accounts under RASMUSSEN's control. A review of Montana Academy's accounting program showed that RASMUSSEN reported paying herself approximately $40,000 in both 2005 and 2006. During 2007, more than $170,000 from the Montana Academy was deposited into accounts under RASMUSSEN's control. And RASMUSSEN continued to issue herself checks from the Montana Academy for several days after she was placed on administrative leave in February 2008.
RASMUSSEN faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and at least 3 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Secret Service.
A copy of the Offer of Proof can be obtained by contacting Sally Frank at (406) 247-4638.