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Press Release

Former Manager of Heating and Cooling Company Sentenced for Embezzling

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

St. Louis, MO – Tracy Lee Cernicek, 48, of St. Charles, Missouri, was sentenced to 36 months in prison for wire fraud.  Cernicek appeared in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Clark. 

According to court documents, Cernicek formerly worked as a credit and collection supervisor for Nortek Global HVAC and Nordyne Distributing.  Between September 2016 and April 2019, Cernicek devised and executed a scheme wherein she fraudulently diverted company funds to herself.  As one part of her scheme, she altered company systems in a manner that caused company refund transactions, which were properly due and owing to customers, to be paid to her own bank account.  As another part of her scheme, she directed third parties to include her name on checks that were properly payable to the company, and thereafter, deposited those checks into her own personal bank account.  As part of her effort to conceal the scheme, Cernicek thereafter manipulated company accounting software to write off the transactions as bad debt.  In total, Cernicek attempted to embezzle almost $180,000 from her employer and their customers, and successfully embezzled approximately $136,000.

The U.S. Secret Service is investigating this case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Bateman is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Updated March 13, 2020

Financial Fraud