Former Organization Director Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge In Theft of Nearly $250,000 From Employer
Embezzlement Took Place Over a Two-Year Period
WASHINGTON – Tamara Kukla, who worked as the “Director of Membership” for a Washington based non-profit organization, has pled guilty to a federal charge involving the embezzlement of nearly $250,000 from her employer, announced U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Brian J. Ebert, Special Agent in Charge, Washington Field Office, U.S. Secret Service.
Kukla, 47, of Plano, Texas, pled guilty on Nov. 2, 2016, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to interstate transportation of stolen property. The Honorable James E. Boasberg scheduled sentencing for Feb. 24, 2017. The charge carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison and potential financial penalties. Under federal sentencing guidelines, Kukla faces a likely range of 12 to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. She also has agreed to pay $248,755 in restitution and an identical amount in a forfeiture money judgment.
According to the government’s evidence, Kukla’s employer provided her with a credit card to assist her with her duties and responsibilities as the “Director of Membership.” Kukla’s duties and responsibilities included, among others, formulating and executing marketing plans designed to maintain and increase her employer’s membership rolls. Beginning around October 2009 and continuing through about December 2011, Kukla devised and carried out a scheme to defraud her employer by embezzling funds through her corporate credit card. Kukla used the credit card for both legitimate and personal purchases, but provided false descriptions of the personal purchases as work-related expenses so that her employer would pay for them. These unauthorized purchases and expenses included, among others, personal expenses related to travel, transportation, hotel lodgings, retail purchases, meals, food, and entertainment.
In announcing the plea, U.S. Attorney Phillips and Special Agent in Charge Ebert commended the work of those who investigated the case from the National Capitol Region Fraud Task Force of the U.S. Secret Service’s Washington Field Office. They also expressed appreciation for the efforts of those who worked on the matter for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vesna Harasic-Yaksic and Zia Faruqui, who handled forfeiture issues, Paralegal Specialists Krishawn Graham and Angela Lawrence, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mervin A. Bourne, Jr., who is prosecuting the case.