Employee sentenced to federal prison for defrauding former employer
Employee stole over $770,000 from Indianapolis-Based Business
Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today Sandra M. Urich, 54, Indianapolis, was sentenced in federal court for her role in a scheme to steal over $770,000 from her Indianapolis-based employer. Urich was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge James R. Sweeney II.
“Businesses must be able to trust their employees,” said Minkler. “This case should serve as a reminder that those who steal from their employer by exploiting that trust, must be, and will be, held accountable.”
For almost 20 years, Urich was a trusted employee who handled order processing and payments for an Indianapolis business that manufactured and distributed products throughout the United States.
In 2011, Urich began secretly diverting customers’ credit card payments to her personal bank accounts. After receiving a customers’ credit card order, Urich would process “refunds” for certain orders. Instead of refunding the money to the customer’s credit card account, she entered her personal debit card numbers so the money was “refunded” to her personal bank accounts.
Urich’s scheme went undetected until the company uncovered her fraud in 2019. Over several years, Urich had taken multiple steps to cover her tracks. For instance, while she ensured that customers actually received the products they ordered, she also erased any reference to the customers’ orders she stole in the company’s shipping and accounting systems.
She would offer discounts to customers if they paid for shipping costs, to avoid the company incurring shipping costs for stolen orders that had been erased from the system.
To avoid detection, she stole relatively small amounts at a time, often just a few hundred dollars, and used specific dollar figures so as to not raise suspicions with the banks and credit card companies.
In over seven years, Urich diverted customer credit card payments nearly 1,000 times, and stole $771,927.04, which she spent largely on personal meals, clothing, and vacations.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“Ms. Urich abused her position of trust for one reason – simple greed. The fraud scheme she perpetrated not only jeopardized her employer’s business and reputation, but unsuspecting customers whose money she pocketed over the years,” said Special Agent in Charge, Grant Mendenhall, FBI Indianapolis. “This sentence sends a clear message that such illegal practices will not be tolerated. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue individuals who steal from honest, hardworking Americans.”
According to Assistant United States Attorney Nick Linder, who prosecuted the case for the government, Urich was sentenced to 27 months imprisonment, ordered to pay $771,927.04 in restitution, and serve 2 years of supervised release.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the Office’s firm commitment to prosecuting complex, long-running fraud schemes. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 5.1.