Former Bookkeeper Failed to Report Money Embezzled From Employers and Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Returns
A former bookkeeper pled guilty today in federal court for failing to report to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) millions of dollars that she embezzled from her employers.
Benjamin G. Greenberg, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.
Lauren Ransom, 58, of Deerfield Beach, pled guilty to three counts of making and subscribing a false tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1). The defendant’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 22, 2018 at 10:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno in Fort Lauderdale. At sentencing, Ransom faces a maximum possible statutory sentence of three years in prison for each count, a $100,000 fine for each count and restitution.
According to stipulated facts filed with the court, for 33 years, the defendant worked as a bookkeeper at two South Florida insurance companies. Ransom embezzled money from one of the company’s business accounts where she used her signatory authority on the accounts and wrote unauthorized company checks payable to “Cash” and “Lauren Ransom.” She then cashed these checks or deposited them into her personal checking account. Court information revealed that the defendant used the money to pay for her credit cards, mortgage and auto loans, insurance, and other personal living expenses. Casino records also revealed that the defendant gambled and lost approximately $1,410,276.95 from December 1, 2008 to January 31, 2014 by playing slot machines. The defendant concealed the embezzlement by altering numerous copies of these cancelled checks by “whiting out” and then changing the payee sections to create so-called legitimate business expenses for the insurance companies. The defendant created false hand-written entries in the companies’ cash disbursement journals to further conceal the fraud.
In the stipulated facts filed with the court, Ransom admitted she filed false individual tax returns, Forms 1040, for tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013 because she knowingly failed to report to the IRS the money she had unlawfully obtained through her embezzlement scheme. The false statements resulted in tax losses. As part of the plea agreement filed with the court, the defendant has further agreed to pay the tax losses and restitution to her former employers.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randy Katz.