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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Friday, September 30, 2016

Georgetown Woman Charged with Embezzling Over $60,000 Dollars from Employer

BOSTON – A Georgetown woman was charged in U.S. District Court in Boston with embezzling over $60,000 from her former employer.

Michelle Higson, 41, was indicted on one count of bank fraud and two counts of uttering a forged security.   Higson was arrested this morning and is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith Dein this afternoon.

According to the indictment, Higson worked as a part-time bookkeeper at a Rowley-based company.  In her position as bookkeeper, Higson was responsible for handling the company’s accounts payable, and used the company’s accounting software program to do so.  From December 2013 through January 2015, Higson stole a series of the company’s checks and made them payable to cash.  Higson then forged her employer’s signatures on the stolen checks, endorsed them herself, and deposited them for cash, which she used for personal expenses. 

To conceal her criminal conduct and avoid detection by company officials, Higson allegedly falsified entries in the company’s general ledger to make it appear as if the stolen checks had been issued to satisfy payment to bona fide vendors.  In total, Higson embezzled over $60,000. 

The charge of bank fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $1 million.  The charge of uttering a forged security provides for sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anne Paruti of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.

Financial Fraud
Updated September 30, 2016