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Press Release

Cedar Falls Office Manager Sentenced to Federal Prison for Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Stole Approximately $250,000 in Two Years

A Cedar Falls office manager who stole approximately $250,000 in a two-year period was sentenced on May 2, 2024, to over two years in federal prison.  Teresa Mae Chiappone, formerly known as Teresa Mae Combs, Teresa Mae Hughes, and Teresa Mae King, age 57, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a September 19, 2023 guilty plea to one count of wire fraud.

At the guilty plea and sentencing hearings, Chiappone admitted she had worked as the office manager for a Cedar Falls small business since 2014.  Between September 2020 and September 2022, Chiappone embezzled approximately $250,000 from the small business.  Chiappone abused her position of trust at the small business to write over $160,000 in unauthorized checks drawn on the small business’s bank account for her own benefit.  Chiappone also intercepted at least $50,000 in cash deposits, and she made no less than $3,000 in unauthorized credit card charges.  Chiappone gambled away thousands of the small business’s moneys at Iowa casinos.  As a result of the fraud, the small business had to take out a loan to cover its losses, contract with a local accounting firm to conduct a forensic audit, and max out its line of credit at a local bank.

Chiappone was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge C.J. Williams.  Chiappone was sentenced to 27 months’ imprisonment and fined $1,000.  She was ordered to make $255,639.16 in restitution to the victim and its insurance company.  She must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Chiappone was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Timothy L. Vavricek and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The Cedar Falls Police Department assisted in the investigation.

Court file information at

The case file number is 23-CR-2047.

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Updated May 6, 2024

Financial Fraud