Former Director Of Finance Of New Jersey-Based Toll Global Forwarding Admits Stealing $1.3 Million From The Company
TRENTON, N.J. – The former director of finance of the Middlesex County-based integrated logistic services company Toll Global Forwarding today admitted stealing more than $1.3 million from her former employer through an elaborate false invoicing scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Karen Sipes, 40, of Brick, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton federal court to an information charging her with wire fraud for her theft from the multi-national company based in Carteret, N.J. She was originally charged by complaint in November 2012.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
While Sipes was employed at Toll Global Forwarding (TGF) – from August 2010 through August 2012 – she was responsible for entering vendor transactions and invoices into TGF’s accounts payable accounting system and paying those vendors by preparing checks from TGF. As a result, Sipes had access to and significant control over TGF’s accounts payable accounting and bill payment systems.
In the false invoicing scheme, Sipes identified vendors with a high number of transactions and invoices in TGF’s accounting system. She admitted she would then create and input fake transactions and invoices for them, preparing checks payable to herself.
Sipes also admitted that she identified legitimate vendor transactions and invoices and changed vendors’ names to her name, making those checks payable to herself. She also used TGF checks to pay the credit card bill of a family member and accessed TGF’s accounting system to remove any record of the fraudulent transactions.
The wire fraud count to which Sipes pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of her guilty plea, Sipes is required to pay restitution of $1,335,698.93 to Toll Global Forwarding. Sentencing is scheduled for July 29, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney M. Oliva and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Michael Critchley Sr. and Edmund DeNoia, Esqs., Roseland, N.J.