Public Relations Firm Employee Admits Embezzling More Than $772,000 From Employer
DALLAS — Marci Johnson, 46, of Kaufman, Texas, appeared in federal court today and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to an Information charging one count of mail fraud, stemming from her embezzlement of more than $772,000, over at least seven years, from her employer, Spaeth Communications. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
If the Court accepts the terms of the plea agreement and full restitution of $772,829.25 has been paid prior to sentencing, the parties agree that the appropriate term of imprisonment should not exceed 24 months. Sentencing is set for September 18, 2013, before Judge Solis.
According to documents filed in the case, from at least August 2003 to March 2011, Johnson embezzled $772,829.25 from her employer, Spaeth Communications of Dallas. During part of that time, Johnson was the company’s Chief Administrative Officer, and in that role, had access to its company checks and company credit cards. Based on her long-standing working relationship with the company’s owner, Johnson occupied a position of trust that provided her substantial discretion over the company’s bank accounts.
Johnson admitted using her corporate American Express card for numerous personal charges, such as dining, department stores and entertainment. In addition, she used company checks to pay for outstanding charges on the company’s American Express bill, including charges she made for personal expenses. She also wrote company checks to cover charges on her personal credit cards. In fact, Johnson admitted that she wrote company checks to Citibank, her personal credit card provider, to cover the cost of an outdoor deck, hot tub, outdoor granite countertops and grill at her personal residence in Kaufman and caused false entries to be made in the company’s accounting software to prevent others from discovering her fraudulent purchases.
The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Nicholas Bunch is in charge of the prosecution.