News and Press Releases

FORMER HOME DEPOT EMPLOYEE SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING $80,000
Management Assistant Manipulated Expense and Payroll Computer Systems

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2010

LORI M. WILSON, 55, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today to six months in prison, three years of supervised release and $80,000 in restitution for wire fraud. WILSON was indicted in March 2010, for five counts of wire fraud and five counts of mail fraud for her scheme to steal over $80,000 from her employer, Home Depot, between May 2006 and June 2008. WILSON used her special access to payroll and work expense computer systems to obtain reimbursement for expenses never incurred, and to obtain payment for hours she never worked. At sentencing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart rejected a request for a sentence of home electronic monitoring, saying that it is an important deterrent for citizens to realize they can go to prison and face serious consequences for this type of theft.

According to records filed in the case, WILSON was employed as an Administrative Assistant at the Home Depot Pacific Northwest Regional Office. Because of her job responsibilities, WILSON had special access to both an expense reimbursement computer system and a payroll computer system. WILSON was also able to access the system in using the user accounts and email addresses of her direct supervisors. WILSON was able to access the system and create false expense reports for reimbursement, and then sign in as her supervisor and approve them. She would delete the email from her supervisors account, alerting the supervisor to the expense approval. Similarly, she was able to report and approve overtime that had never been worked. WILSON was reimbursed more than $64,000 in expenses she never incurred between March 2007 and May 2008. WILSON was paid nearly $14,000 for hours she never worked between September 2006, and May 2008. The fraud was uncovered during an internal audit. When questioned about expenses in June 2008, WILSON resigned her position with Home Depot. On July 2, 2010, WILSON pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

In asking for a prison sentence, Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham wrote to the court that WILSON’s theft harmed not only Home Depot, but the community as a whole. “Wilson’s fraud also has an indirect effect on the community at large, as instances of employee embezzlement such as this one force companies like Home Depot to raise their prices, thus negatively impacting innocent consumers during a time when many are experiencing financial difficulties.”

The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kate Crisham.

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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