News and Press Releases

Woman Stole More than $40,000 from Accounts Used for Police Officers’ Benefits Plan

May 2, 2008

TARA MULLINS, 37, of Renton, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 4 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release for Embezzlement from an Employee Benefit Plan. MULLINS worked as a bookkeeper for the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild from February 2003, until November 2005. MULLINS pleaded guilty in January 2008, admitting that between September of 2004, and when she was fired in November 2005, she embezzled $41,733 from Guild funds, some of which were to be used to pay for employee benefits. The federal prosecutor asked for a prison sentence noting that while MULLINS was stealing money from the Guild, she failed to send a death benefits check to the family of a fallen police officer. U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour imposed the four month sentence, noting that MULLINS, who is five weeks pregnant, will be released in time to deliver her child outside prison walls.

When she pleaded guilty in January, MULLINS provided the government with a check for $77,492 in restitution which represents not only the money she embezzled, but the additional costs to the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild to audit the books, correct errors and defend against MULLINS’ legal claims following her firing. According to the plea agreement, MULLINS admits that she prepared fraudulent checks and deposited them into her personal bank accounts. MULLINS admits she forged the signature of a Guild officer on the forged checks. As part of the scheme MULLINS also transferred funds from Guild accounts to her own PayPal account for her personal use. MULLINS used some of this money to purchase a large amount of TV and movie memorabilia, including Star Trek paraphernalia.

When MULLINS was fired from the job at the Guild, officers found $10,000 of checks in her desk that had not been mailed to police officers and other venders. In her sentencing memo, Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally points out that MULLINS knew what she was doing was wrong. MULLINS “... took measures to keep her illegal conduct secret from her employer, going so far as to inform (the Seattle Police Officer Guild’s) auditors that the annual audit was no longer necessary.”

The case was investigated by the King County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Secret Service.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patricia Lally.

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

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