United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Announces Participation in National Money Mule Initiative; Obtains Three Civil Injunctions Against Alleged Money Mules Involved in Lottery Scams
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Donna Laansma, 57, of Fairless Hills, PA, was charged by Information with wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with a scheme to embezzle over $1.8 million from her former employer, and for failing to report these fraudulently obtained earnings to the Internal Revenue Service.
The defendant is the former Financial Controller of Astea, a global management software company based in Horsham, PA, and managed the company’s finances worldwide. The Information alleges that Laansma obtained a corporate credit card that she kept hidden from senior management. Between November 2014 and November 2020, the defendant is charged with using the secret card to spend over $1.8 million on personal expenditures such as her son’s college tuition, monthly payments on her personal bank accounts, vacations, shoes, groceries, furniture, and gift cards. She is also charged with using her position as Financial Controller to pay down the corporate card bills, and falsely recording these payments as legitimate business expenses in company books. The secret corporate credit card was discovered in 2020, after Astea was acquired by another global enterprise software company. Laansma, who was a Certified Public Accountant and familiar with the tax code, is also charged with failing to report this extra income as earnings on her tax forms.
“This defendant allegedly swindled almost two million dollars from her former employer, covering her tracks so well that her fraud was only discovered when the company was acquired,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Instead of doing the right thing and performing her job honestly as the company’s controller, she chose the greedy path. Our Office will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect innocent individuals and businesses from being victimized by financial fraud.”
“When you dip into funds entrusted to you, that don’t belong to you, and spend those monies without authorization, it’s called theft,” said Special Agent in Charge Jacqueline Maguire. “And it doesn’t matter if you are a store clerk, a CPA, or a bank robber, thievery is illegal at every level. In this case, the defendant allegedly stole nearly two million dollars to fund a lifestyle to which she was not entitled. And what she has earned are felony charges that will influence her life for years to come.”
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, three years of supervised release, a special assessment and an order of restitution.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Jeanette Kang.
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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