Loretto Woman Indicted In Embezzlement Scheme From Nashville Business
NASHVILLE – A federal indictment unsealed yesterday charges a Loretto, Tennessee woman with three counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft, related to an embezzlement scheme which exceeded $200,000, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Kimberly Hodge, aka Kimberly Hughen, 51, of Loretto, Tennessee, surrendered to FBI agents yesterday.
According to the indictment, Hodge was the bookkeeper for Integrity Architectural Millwork (Integrity) and was responsible for, among other duties, making Quickbooks entries and recording payments to vendors. Between February 2019 and April 2020, Hodge fraudulently made deposits into her personal bank account from the operating account of Integrity and caused fraudulent payments to be made to her account from Integrity’s credit card.
The indictment also alleges that in February 2020, Hodge forged the name and signature of the owner of Integrity to apply for a loan from a financial institution in the amount of $150,000 to replenish the funds in the Integrity operating account to conceal the fraud. In the loan application, Hodge provided the owner’s personal information, including a photo of the owner’s driver’s license.
In April 2020, Integrity applied for and received a loan in the amount of $127,447 from the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) of the Small Business Administration, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). These funds were intended to be used for employee salaries and business expenses of Integrity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The indictment alleges that Hodge also transferred funds from the PPP account to the Integrity operating account to conceal her fraud. In May 2020, Integrity discovered the fraud and terminated Hodge’s employment, after which she continued to attempt to make fraudulent purchases using Integrity’s credit card.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation in which the government seeks a money judgement of at least $209,443.63, which represents the proceeds of the crimes committed.
If convicted, Hodge faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge and up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud, and a fine of $250,000.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department Fraud Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn W. Booth is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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