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Press Release

Ocean View Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Former Employer of More Than $1 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. –David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Joan Donald, 55, of Ocean View, pled guilty today in federal court to wire fraud and tax evasion arising from her theft of more than $1 million dollars from Dovetail, Inc., her former employer. Chief U.S. District Judge Colm F. Connolly accepted the plea.

According to court documents and statements made in open court, Donald worked as a bookkeeper for Dovetail, a high-end interior design company based in Bethany Beach. For more than 7 years, Donald perpetrated a long con against Dovetail and its owner, an elderly woman with ailing health, by using Dovetail’s funds to pay Donald’s personal credit card bills. When confronted with the fraud, Donald confessed that she had been embezzling money from Dovetail for years. A full forensic accounting conducted by the FBI revealed that Donald had stolen over $1 million.

As a result of her guilty plea, Donald faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on August 4, 2022. Sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Chief U.S. District Judge Connolly will impose sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Weiss commented, “Dovetail’s story is a remarkable example of the American dream, a small business built from the ground up by a single mother of four. Month after month, year after year, however, Joan Donald breached the trust placed in her and used Dovetail as her own private ATM, effectively bankrupting the business and owner in the process. Thanks to the efforts of our law enforcement partners, Donald is now a convicted felon.”

“Today’s sentence has put an end to Joan Donald’s flagrant actions and complete disrespect of the law.  For years Donald was a trusted insider who preyed on her employer by stealing funds to financially enrich herself” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski. “Those who abuse their position of trust for their own financial greed will not be tolerated. The FBI and our partners will continue to uncover those committing fraud and causing harm to businesses and individuals for personal gain.” 

“No matter what the source of income, all income is taxable,” said Yury Kruty, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation.  “Joan Donald embezzled from her employer and then failed to report the misappropriated funds as income on her personal income tax returns.  Dovetail directly suffered from Donald’s scheme, and all of the honest taxpayers were also indirectly victimized by Donald’s crimes.”

The FBI Baltimore Division’s Dover Resident Agency and IRS-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Howland is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the District of Delaware or on PACER by searching for Case No. 21-cr-041-CFC.

Updated April 13, 2022

Financial Fraud