Central Illinois Employee Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Maui Jim
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois
PEORIA, Ill. – A Bradford, Illinois, woman, Erica Hornof, 36, of the 300 block of Enterprise Drive, pleaded guilty on March 20, 2023, to three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud Maui Jim, a sunglasses manufacturer. Sentencing for Hornof has been scheduled for June 15, 2023, at the U.S. Courthouse in Peoria, Illinois before U.S. District Judge James E. Shadid.
In court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley, Hornof admitted guilt to all six charges. During the hearing, the government stated that Hornof, a long-term employee of Maui Jim, was a Lead Repair Technician, responsible for fixing sunglasses. As such, she had access to the parts to construct sunglasses. Maui Jim conducted an internal investigation that revealed Hornof had, in fact, been stealing sunglasses parts. She used the stolen parts to assemble sunglasses and sold them to two individuals who then sold them on eBay. The mail fraud charges result from her use of the U.S. Mail Service to send the stolen goods. The wire fraud charges stem from her use of a PayPal account to transfer payments to her Princeville State Bank account. As alleged in the indictment, Hornof defrauded Maui Jim of more than $100,000.
Hornof remains free on bond, pending sentencing.
Hornof faces statutory penalties of up to 20 years’ imprisonment, followed by up to a three-year term of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine on each of the six counts.
The case investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office. Criminal Chief Darilynn J. Knauss is representing the government in the prosecution.
Updated March 21, 2023