Lebanon Woman Sentenced to 21 Months in Federal Prison for Perpetrating Elder Fraud Scheme Against Former Employer
Fields stole over $36,000 from M&M Muffler & Automotive
INDIANAPOLIS – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Annie Fields, 54, Lebanon, Indiana, was sentenced in federal court, by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, to 21 months in federal prison, after being charged by information and pleading guilty to charges of wire fraud.
"Fields abused her position with M&M, took advantage of her elderly employers, and violated their trust," said Minkler. "The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting those individuals who perpetrate elder fraud schemes against vulnerable and elderly victims."
Annie Fields was employed by M&M, Inc., (M&M), an automotive services business located in Zionsville, Boone County, Indiana. Fields’ duties included bookkeeping and clerical responsibilities. The owners of M&M are elderly and were vulnerable to being victimized and exploited, by people like fields. They hired Fields for her experience in accounting and they entrusted Fields to manage M&M’s books. Fields had access to M&M’s business account and business MasterCard. Fields was not authorized to use the checking account or credit card account for personal reasons.
On several occasions, between September 2012 and December 2014, Fields wrote unauthorized checks payable to herself, or to her creditors on the M&M bank account. In creating the fraudulent checks, Fields also prepared a false copy of these checks, which contained a different payee, and appeared to be an authorized business payee for M&M. Fields made the false copies available to M&M officials.
Between October 9, 2012 and July 3, 2014, Fields, on many occasions, used the M&M credit card account for unauthorized personal expenses. In order to hide these transactions from M&M officials, Fields prepared altered credit card statements, which omitted her unauthorized transactions, and made only these false versions of the statements available to M&M officials. Fields’ fraudulent schemes resulted in a loss of $36,895 to M&M.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"When the elderly are defrauded, this can cause a significant financial hardship and these losses can be devastating to them," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Alex Middleton, FBI Indianapolis. "Today’s sentence sends a clear message – the FBI will hold perpetrators of elder fraud schemes accountable and ensure our elderly citizens receive the protection they deserve."
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney James M. Warden, who prosecuted this case for the government, Fields will serve two years’ supervised release following her prison sentence. Fields will pay full restitution to the victims in the amount of $36,895.00, as ordered by the court.
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 those individuals who engage in complex and sophisticated fraud schemes, particularly those that exploit vulnerable victims, and abuse positions of trust. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan 5.1.