West Yellowstone woman admits embezzling more than a half-million dollars from employer
MISSOULA – A West Yellowstone woman admitted today in federal court to embezzling more than a half million dollars from her employer over a seven-year period, U.S. Attorney Kurt G. Alme said.
Ann Bennett Hermanson, 54, pleaded guilty to wire fraud during a hearing in Missoula.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch presided. Judge Lynch set sentencing for April 12. Hermanson is released.
Hermanson faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years supervised release. A restitution agreement calls for Hermanson to pay $501,975.50.
If the case had gone to trial, the government would have presented the following information as evidence:
Hermanson worked for 15 years as a para-professional in the West Yellowstone office of a regional accounting and business services company. As a para-professional, Hermanson had access to bank account information and signature stamps for the company’s customers.
Starting in 2009 and continuing until April 2016, Hermanson embezzled about $630,327.88 from several accounts belonging to the company’s customers. She has repaid some of the money and has agreed to $501,975.50 restitution.
The thefts were discovered in April 2016 when a customer reported irregularities in her business account to the company’s corporate office.
Hermanson embezzled funds by writing checks to herself for personal credit card expenses and other bills and using customers’ signature stamps to sign the checks. She also obtained a duplicate credit card for one victim’s account and used it to make unauthorized purchases.
When approached by a company employee in April 2016 about suspicious transactions, Hermanson admitted to embezzling money. She also admitted the thefts to an FBI agent and identified five business accounts from which she stole money.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Racicot is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.