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Press Release

Former Office Manager Sentenced to Federal Prison for Embezzling Over $8.5 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia

ATLANTA – Sonya Hesenius, a former office manager and executive assistant for a company in Alpharetta, Georgia, has been sentenced to federal prison for embezzling more than $8.5 million between 2015 and 2020.

“Hesenius will now be held accountable for her flagrant theft of millions of dollars from her employer to support a lavish lifestyle,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Hesenius was entrusted with handling the financial responsibilities for the company where she worked.  But she chose to steal from the company, blatantly using company funds to pay for expensive, overseas vacations for herself and family members, plastic surgery, shopping binges at exclusive retail stores, and other exorbitant purchases.”

“Hesenius worked in a position of trust for a company that expected her to honor that trust,” said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Instead, she chose to abuse it and her personal greed not only hurt the company, but everyone who worked for them. This sentence should send the message that the FBI takes wire fraud extremely seriously and will work to hold offenders accountable.”

According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Between 2015 and 2020, Sonya Hesenius was employed as an office manager and executive assistant at a company in Alpharetta, Georgia that provides third-party yard management services. During her employment, Hesenius made fraudulent charges on corporate credit cards and caused the company to reimburse her personal credit card for personal expenses. To conceal her scheme, she coded and approved all the charges herself, withheld supporting documentation from the company, and disguised the unauthorized expenditures in the company’s accounting system as legitimate expenses such as newspaper advertisements. Hesenius further spread the expenditures among different job sites to further conceal the fraud.

Hesenius used the fraudulently obtained funds to live a lavish lifestyle, resulting in staggering losses to her employer. Her fraudulent activities included company expenditures for: (1) more than $172,000 on her daughter’s wedding; (2) more than $600,000 at Saks Fifth Avenue on items such as designer handbags; (3) over $460,000 for herself, family members, and friends to travel all over the world; (4) flying herself and her family on private jets to vacations in France, Greece, Hawaii, and Turks and Caicos, totaling more than $145,000; (5) tickets to attend University of Tennessee sporting events, the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, the Stanley Cup Finals, and various concerts, totaling more than $238,000; (6) a recreational vehicle costing more than $100,000, using $40,000 of company money as a down payment; (7) hundreds of thousands of dollars on high-end furniture; (8) plastic surgery and dental expenses; and (9) conversions of company funds into cash through over $1 million in PayPal, Venmo, and Square transfers to herself and family members. In total, Hesenius embezzled $8,614,729.37 over the course of the fraud scheme.

Sonya Hesenius, 60, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced by U.S District Judge Victoria M. Calvert to six years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Hesenius was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,614,729.37. Hesenius was convicted on these charges on November 29, 2023, after she pleaded guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. O’Neal prosecuted the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is

Updated April 8, 2024

Financial Fraud