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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 5, 2022

HARTFORD WOMAN CHARGED WITH EXECUTING WIRE FRAUD SCHEME AND MONEY LAUNDERING

Richard G. Frohling, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on May 3, 2022, a Hartford woman was charged with a multi-million-dollar wire fraud and money laundering scheme. Vicki Berka (age: 61) was charged with two counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and two counts of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957. 

According to the indictment, beginning in approximately July 2014, and continuing through at least September 26, 2017, Berka devised a scheme to defraud a Milwaukee business for which she served as Chief Financial Officer.

According to the indictment, Berka used her position and bank account login credentials to embezzle approximately $2.7 million from Bader Rutter & Associates (“Bader”) for over three years.  The indictment alleges that Berka used her authority to initiate numerous ACH transfers from Bader’s corporate accounts into a bank account she controlled and then made false entries in Bader’s general ledger to disguise her embezzlement.

The indictment also alleges that after the proceeds of her fraudulent scheme went into her bank account, Berka engaged in unlawful monetary transactions by transferring and spending these proceeds.

If convicted of wire fraud, Berka would face a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison for each count.  If convicted of unlawful monetary transactions, Berka would face a maximum sentence of ten years in prison for each count. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Smyczek.

An indictment is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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For further information contact:

Public Information Officer Kenneth Gales                                                                     

(414) 297-1700

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Updated May 5, 2022