News and Press Releases

aurora woman sentenced for mail fraud, false tax returns;
embezzled $247,448 from her employer

November 18, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that an Aurora, Mo., woman was sentenced today in federal court for mail fraud and filing false tax returns in a scheme to embezzle $247,448 from her employer.

Diana Kay Erickson, 46, of Aurora, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Fenner on Friday, November 18, 2011, to two years and nine months in prison without parole.
In her guilty plea, Erickson admitted that she embezzled $219,606 from Superior Lifts, Inc., between Sept. 7, 2006, and April 2, 2008, and that she embezzled $34,242 from Goolsby Rental Properties between March 14, 2006, and Dec. 18, 2006.

In 2006, Erickson was employed as a bookkeeper at Superior Lifts, which sold automobile lifts and other products. Superior Lifts, which is no longer in business, had its office in Aurora in 2004 and later moved to Nixa, Mo., in 2009. The owners of Superior Lifts also operated Goolsby Rental Properties, a second business that managed rental properties in the Wichita, Kan., area. Erickson also performed bookkeeping duties for Goolsby Rental Properties.

When customers of Superior Lifts mailed bank checks as payments, Erickson repeatedly intercepted those checks and deposited them in her own personal bank account.

Erickson also admitted that she filed false U.S. Individual Tax Returns for tax years 2006, 2007 and 2008. These returns were false because Erickson failed to report income she embezzled from Superior Lifts and Goolsby Rental Properties. As a result, the tax loss to the government (without penalties and interest) was $57,801.      

            This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Aurora, Mo., Police Department and the Lawrence County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

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