Former Hampstead Bookkeeper Sentenced to Almost Four Years in Federal Prison for a Scheme to Embezzle Almost $1 Million From Her Employer
Perpetrated the Scheme for at Least 16 Years
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander today sentenced Lisa Fore, age 48, of Hampstead, Maryland, to 45 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft related to a scheme to embezzle almost $1 million from her employers. Judge Hollander also scheduled a hearing on April 20, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. concerning the requested restitution.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Jennifer C. Boone of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office.
“Less than a year after she was hired, Lisa Fore began embezzling from the family-owned company for which she worked and from the family themselves. She continued the embezzlement scheme for at least 16 years, taking advantage of the relationships she cultivated for her own purposes,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Now Lisa Fore will have almost four years in federal prison to reflect on her betrayal of trust. Let this sentence serve as a warning to others who might be tempted to abuse their position for personal gain.”
According to Fore’s plea agreement, beginning in 2001, Fore was employed as a bookkeeper for victims J.C., C.C., the Cirelli Company, and related entities. Beginning in at least 2002 and continuing until July 2018, Fore embezzled more than $996,193.02 from the Cirelli entities and victims J.C. and C.C.
As detailed in her plea agreement, Fore accomplished the scheme by various means, including forging the signature of J.C. on checks drawn from the personal accounts of J.C. and C.C., and from the accounts of the Cirelli entities; making electronic transfers of funds from the Cirelli accounts; and using credit cards for accounts associated with the Cirelli entities, all for her personal benefit. Fore used the embezzled funds to pay her personal credit card bills, property taxes on her home in Carroll County, Maryland, utility bills associated with her home, and taxes owed to the U.S. Department of Treasury. She also repeatedly used a company credit card to purchase items and services for her own benefit. including auto repairs for her and her family’s personal vehicles at a local auto repair shop.
Fore admitted that she concealed her scheme by creating fake bank statements and fake invoices from a legitimate vendor used by the Cirelli entities, and by inaccurately coding forged checks used to pay her personal expenses in the online accounting application used by the company, among other means. For example, Fore would code a forged check as payable to a frequently used vendor, when the check was in fact payable to one of her creditors.
On July 30, 2018, J.C. confronted Fore about suspicious charges on a company credit card. Fore acknowledged that she was responsible for the suspicious charges and her employment was terminated shortly thereafter.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur praised the FBI for its work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Riley, who prosecuted the case.
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