News and Press Releases

GRAHAM WOMAN SENTENCED TO 17 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR WIRE FRAUD
Billing Clerk Embezzled More than $260,000 From Employer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 23, 2010

VIRGINIA LEE UY, a.k.a. Virginia Lee Uy Stanton, 47, of Graham, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 17 months in prison, three months of electronic home detention, three years of supervised release, 40 hours of community service and $263,599 in restitution for wire fraud. UY was employed at the Sumner, Washington office of a division of Maersk Inc., the international shipping line. UY forged check requests and altered checks to steal more than a quarter million dollars from her employer over a three year period. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle said UY had abused the trust of her employer. “You made an intentional decision to steal from your employer 116 times... Your employer was not just a corporation. Behind the corporation were people. You cheated stockholders and you effected your co-workers.”

According to records filed in the case, UY began work at Hudd Distribution Services, Inc. (Hudd) and Maersk Distribution Services, Inc. (MDSI) (both subsidiaries of Maersk, Inc) in 2002 as a billing clerk. UY was terminated in June 2009, when the embezzlement scheme came to light. Over the course of three years, UY submitted numerous false check requests to the company accounting department in Charlotte, North Carolina. In some instances she used a computer to falsely insert her supervisors signature on the forms, on other forms she provided false information to her supervisor to obtain the signature. UY had the checks she requested sent to her attention or had them sent to vendors. The unknowing vendors would then remit money via UY believing there had been an overpayment. UY altered the various checks so she could deposit them in her personal bank account. She stole 85 checks directly from her company totaling $188,618 and she stole 31 vendor overpayment checks totaling $74,980. The company learned of the scheme when one of the vendors reported its check for overpayment had been altered and made payable to UY.

In asking for a 27 month sentence, Special Assistant United States Attorney John Odell noted that UY betrayed the trust of her employer and damaged her co-workers. Mr. Odell wrote to the court that “Each time she requested a check, the defendant lied to her employer about the true nature of the transaction. On each of the 116 occasions, the defendant had the opportunity to reflect and consider the criminal nature of her actions. Yet, she continued to request check after check after check.... The loss of funds stolen by the defendant caused her employer to miss revenue targets for 2008. As a result, her co-workers missed out on bonus payments that year, as well as some of the salary increases they had earned for 2009. All the while, the defendant was using the proceeds of her fraudulent scheme to feed her gambling and methamphetamine addictions.”

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney John Odell. Mr. Odell is an attorney employed by ICE and specially designated to prosecute crimes in federal court.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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