News and Press Releases

Overland Park woman pleads guilty to embezzling
$400,000 from employer in bank fraud scheme

March 8, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that an Overland Park, Kan., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a bank fraud scheme in which she embezzled nearly $400,000 from her Harrisonville, Mo., employer.

            Tammie Lynn Cowell, 37, of Overland Park, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to the charge contained in a federal information.

            Cowell was the accounting manager for Obermiller Construction in Harrisonville. Cowell admitted that, from January 2004 to December 2009, she forged numerous checks from Obermiller Construction totaling $213,590 and deposited them into her personal bank account. Cowell also admitted that she obtained signatures on three large payroll checks, which were created without permission and with herself as the payee. Cowell cashed the checks and deposited them into her personal bank account.

Cowell also admitted that she misused the ATM/debit cards of Obermiller Construction in an amount totaling $38,275 and the ATM/debit cards of former employees of Obermiller Construction in an amount totaling $2,568. During that same time frame, Cowell failed to deduct health insurance premiums from payroll checks, including premiums for her own family members and other employees of Obermiller Construction, in an amount totaling approximately $59,433.

            From 2005 to 2009, Cowell failed to pay $176,008 in sales tax to the state of Kansas. As the accountant for Obermiller Construction, Cowell was responsible for making tax payments to any taxing authority where Obermiller Construction conducted business. As a result of Cowell’s failure to pay Kansas sales taxes, the company is liable for approximately $84,576 in interest and penalties.

            Under federal statutes, Cowell is subject to a sentence of up to 30 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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