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Press Release

Shrewsbury Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzling $849,000

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

ST. LOUIS – A bookkeeper from Shrewsbury, Missouri who embezzled $849,000 from a client and blamed one of her employees was sentenced Wednesday to a year and a day in federal prison.

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Autrey also ordered Cora G. Willard, 47, to repay the money. She repaid $100,000 Wednesday.

Willard ran a bookkeeping, payroll, and money-management assistance company called Red Hen Business Services. She admitted in a guilty plea in April that from at least Nov. 29, 2019 through June 10, 2022, she stole $849,000 from a man who operated a money management business and had provided her with access to his account and financial records. Willard made nearly 100 unauthorized wire transfers to herself from the victim’s bank account, even after he’d asked her to close the account. She also sent the tax and bill payments that she was supposed to be making for her client into bank accounts that she controlled. She sent false balance sheets to her client to cover up her theft.

After the client discovered that he was missing large amounts of money, Willard blamed one of her employees, her guilty plea says. 

Willard pleaded guilty to one felony count of wire fraud.

The case was investigated by the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wiseman is prosecuting the case.

Updated October 18, 2023

Financial Fraud