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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 13, 2019

Georgetown Woman Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud

BOSTON – A Georgetown woman pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with embezzling over $419,000 from her employer.

Michelle Higson, 44, pleaded guilty to four counts of bank fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Dec. 12, 2019. Higson was indicted in November 2018.

Higson began working as a part-time bookkeeper for a Wilmington company in 2013.  From 2015 until her termination in 2018, Higson stole a series of the company’s checks, made them payable to herself or to her husband, and forged her employer’s signatures. Higson cashed and deposited the checks for her own personal use. To conceal her criminal conduct and avoid detection by the company, Higson falsified entries in the company’s books to make it appear as if the stolen checks had been issued to satisfy payment to actual vendors. In addition, on several occasions, Higson inflated her pay rate and falsified the number of hours she worked, thereby collecting more money than what she actually earned. In total, Higson embezzled over $419,000.

The charge of bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph W. Cronin, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Paruti of Lelling’s Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated September 16, 2019