News and Press Releases

Coeur d'Alene Woman Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2012

Former City Finance Dept. Employee Admits Theft of $365,000

COEUR D'ALENE – Sheryl Lynn Carroll, 52, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, pleaded guilty yesterday in United States District Court to six counts of wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

According to the plea agreement, Carroll was hired by the City of Coeur d'Alene in October 2002, as a payroll coordinator in the Finance Department. Beginning in at least 2007, Carroll devised a scheme to divert money from City of Coeur d’Alene bank accounts for her own personal benefit. In court today, Carroll admitted that she diverted payments intended for the Voluntary Employee Benefit Association (VEBA), International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and United Heritage Mutual (UHM), all legitimate vendors who regularly received payment from the City of Coeur d'Alene. According to the plea agreement, Carroll represented that she was sending wire transfers to the vendors when in fact she was transferring the funds into her own personal bank account. On average, Carroll made fraudulent wire transfers from one to three times a month for several years. Carroll admitted that she fraudulently received approximately $365,000 in money from the City of Coeur d'Alene.

Each count of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

Carroll is scheduled to be sentenced on February 5, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

“Ms. Carroll, through her diversion of public money for her own personal gain, violated the trust of the citizens she was supposed to serve,” said Olson. “Public employees have a solemn obligation to ensure that taxpayer money is used for the public good. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with state and local law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure that fraud is not a part of government business.”

The case was investigated by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Secret Service.

Today's announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys' offices and state and local partners, it's the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.