San Juan Capistrano Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing over $1.5 Million from Clients of Her Orange County Accounting Business
SANTA ANA, California – The owner and operator of Mulder Financial Consulting – a financial services company that provided accounting, tax and bookkeeping services – pleaded guilty this afternoon to federal charges for embezzling more than $1.5 million from her clients.
Elizabeth Jane Mulder, who also goes by “Lizzie,” a 34-year-old resident of San Juan Capistrano, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and subscribing to a false income tax return for failing to disclose the misappropriated funds to the Internal Revenue Service.
According to documents filed in United States District Court, from July 2009 until last month, Mulder obtained money from small business clients by gaining the trust of their owners, some of whom allowed her to gain control over their financial accounts.
In relation to nearly all of her victims, Mulder convinced clients to make checks payable to “Income Tax Payments” with promises that those payments would satisfy the clients’ outstanding IRS tax obligations and would be forwarded to the appropriate federal, state or local tax authority. Mulder then deposited these checks into a bank account she created under the name “Income Tax Payments” and converted the funds for her own personal use.
Mulder took money from victims after creating false personas that appeared to be investors and/or representatives of other companies, which led her clients to believe various expenses were being paid for the benefit of their respective businesses. In fact, Mulder simply was depositing clients’ money into her own bank account.
In total, Mulder’s fraudulent scheme resulted in the theft of approximately $1,538,771 from several Orange County-based businesses, including JAC Wines in San Clemente, Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates in San Juan Capistrano and Andra Builders, Inc. in Costa Mesa.
Mulder used the money obtained from her fraudulent scheme for a variety of personal expenses, including a rental home in Laguna Beach, cosmetic surgery, vacations and horse rentals.
Mulder is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge David O. Carter on October 16, at which time she will face a statutory maximum penalty of 23 years in prison and a fine of $350,000.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; IRS Criminal Investigation; and the Laguna Beach Police Department, Investigations Division.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott D. Tenley of the Santa Ana Branch Office.