Former Controller Arrested for Defrauding Fitness Company and Retail Store
BIRMINGHAM – FBI agents in Texas today arrested the former controller for a Birmingham-based fitness center franchise on charges she defrauded that company and a subsequent retail store out of more than $100,000, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Roger C. Stanton.
A federal grand jury in Birmingham on Dec. 28 indicted REBECCA FRITH, also known as Rebecca Wilson, 44, on 20 counts of wire fraud between April 2014 and June 2016 while she was controller at Iron Tribe Fitness. It also indicted Frith, now living in Sunset, Texas, on two counts of wire fraud between July 2016 and August 2016 while she was controller at The Pants Store, based in Leeds, Ala.
The indictment seeks to have Frith forfeit $105,309 as proceeds of illegal activity.
Agents arrested Frith without incident at her job in Texas. She was scheduled to go before a federal magistrate judge today in Texas for an initial appearance on the charges against her. She is scheduled for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Birmingham Jan. 19.
According to the indictment, which was unsealed today following her arrest, Frith used her access to Iron Tribe Fitness’ bank and credit card accounts at Servis1st Bank to establish automatic drafts to pay personal monthly utility bills, including cell phone, water, power and cable. She also used Iron Tribe Fitness credit cards to pay unauthorized personal expenses including food, household items, pet care, vehicle maintenance, car payments, taxes, flights, hotels and vacations, the indictment charges.
Frith resigned her position with Iron Tribe Fitness in June 2016 and went to work as controller for The Pants Store. Within her first month of employment there, Frith used her access to The Pants Store’s bank account numbers to set up automatic drafts from the company’s business account at Merrill Lynch to pay her $1,650 apartment rent, according to the indictment.
The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark is prosecuting.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.