Rushville Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Former Employer
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Sentencing has been scheduled in March 2017 for a Rushville woman, Amy Ward, 30, who pled guilty yesterday to embezzling $486,510 from her former employer, a Beardstown farmer. Ward, waived indictment and pled guilty to one count of bank fraud as charged in the information filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois. Ward appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom Schanzle-Haskins. Ward was released on bond pending sentencing, which is scheduled on Mar. 27, 2017.
According to court documents, Ward began working as a bookkeeper for Marty Turner Farms in September 2010. Only Turner and his wife, co-owners of Marty Turner Farms, were authorized to sign the business’s checking accounts. When the Turners anticipated being away from the business for any extended period, they had the practice of leaving pre-signed checks with Ward so that Ward could fill in the necessary information and issue checks to vendors in their absence.
Ward admitted that beginning in late March 2011, and continuing to May 2015, she wrote pre-signed checks to herself or to her husband, which she then endorsed and deposited into the account she shared with her husband. Ward created fraudulent entries in the business’s accounting software program to reflect that the checks issued to herself and her husband were issued to legitimate vendors. The practice continued until May 2015, when Ward was confronted by her employer. In total, Ward issued 107 fraudulent checks for a total amount of $486,510.
The statutory maximum penalty for bank fraud is up to 30 years in prison as prescribed by Congress and provided here for informational purposes, as sentencing is determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor B. Yanz is prosecuting the case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cass County Sheriff's Office conducted the investigation.