Former Controller Of Saint Paul Town & Country Club Pleads Guilty To Million Dollar Embezzlement Scheme
United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker announced the guilty plea of JULIE ANN LEE, 53, former controller of the Town & Country Club in St. Paul, Minnesota, for operating a million dollar embezzlement scheme. LEE, who was indicted on August 23, 2017, entered her guilty plea yesterday before Senior Judge Donovan W. Frank in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“The Town & Country Club has been a Saint Paul institution since 1888. Unfortunately, Julie Lee, who was entrusted with the club’s finances, chose to use her position to embezzle more than one million dollars. She then spent the money on things such as home improvements, travel and vehicles,” said U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker. “With this guilty plea, the defendant has accepted responsibility for her crimes.”
“Tax evasion and wire fraud charges are not victimless crimes,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Hubbard Burgess of the St. Paul Field Office IRS Criminal Investigation. “We all pay when others steal from their employers and the government. The magnitude of this fraud committed by Ms. Lee, along with this degree of dishonesty and deceit deserves to be punished.”
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, from 2008 through December 2016, LEE was the controller of the Town & Country Club (“TCC”) in St. Paul, Minnesota. In her role, LEE was responsible for managing TCC’s finances and had authority to sign and issue checks on behalf of TCC as well as signing authority on TCC’s bank accounts, including a line of credit TCC had with Alliance Bank. LEE used her position as controller to devise a scheme to embezzle more than $1 million from TCC over the course of eight years.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, as part of her embezzlement scheme, LEE fraudulently issued herself more than 50 checks totaling approximately $163,357 directly from TCC’s bank accounts. LEE also stole approximately $250,000 in cash from TCC, which she deposited into her personal bank account. As part of the scheme, LEE also made payments on her personal credit cards directly from TCC bank accounts totaling approximately $764,932. LEE spent the funds she embezzled on things unrelated to TCC, including personal travel, home improvements and her mortgage, a 2013 Dodge Charger, a 2015 GMC Sierra K3500 pickup truck, a motorcycle, and a recreational vehicle.
According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, LEE attempted to conceal her embezzlement scheme and cover the shortage of money in TCC’s bank accounts by taking advances on TCC’s line of credit at Alliance Bank. As a result of LEE’s embezzlement, TCC was left without sufficient funds to make its quarterly payroll tax payments to the IRS. In order to conceal the shortage of funds, LEE filed false quarterly payroll tax returns with the IRS understating TCC’s payroll tax liability. At times, LEE also filed TCC’s quarterly payroll tax returns late and made TCC’s quarterly tax payments late, which resulted in TCC paying more than $300,000 in interest and penalties to the IRS.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Thompson.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS, the United States Secret Service, and the Saint Paul Police Department.
JULIE ANN LEE, 53
- Wire fraud, 1 count
- Filing a false tax return, 1 count
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600