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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kentucky Woman Sentenced To 30 Months For Embezzling From Employer

CINCINNATI – Michelle M. Clemons, 32, of Independence, Ky., was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 30 months in prison for three counts of wire fraud.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett.

According to court documents, beginning in or about July 2005, Clemons worked as the controller for Art Woodworking and Manufacturing Co. located in Cincinnati. From at least 2006 until February 2013, Clemons used wire communications to embezzle funds from Art Woodworking. During that time, she electronically transferred more than $411,000 from the company for her own financial benefit.

“As controller, the defendant oversaw payroll for the company, had access to its financial information and was responsible for directing funds for the payment of company debts,” Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Knight told the court. “Clemons abused her position of trust at Art Woodworking and began diverting unauthorized payroll and reimbursements to her personal bank account.”

Clemons would issue herself unauthorized payroll checks using the direct deposit function or through manual payroll checks deposited into her personal bank account. She also issued reimbursements for business expenses she did not incur. Clemons often manipulated the accounting software to make the checks she wrote to herself appear as if they were used for a business purpose, when in fact, Clemons was cashing or depositing the checks into her personal bank account.

Furthermore, she used three business credit cards in the name of Art Woodworking for personal expenses such as to fund a Disney Vacation Club and subsequent trip in Florida, and to pay her personal real estate tax bill.

Clemons was also sentenced to three years supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $231,671.42 to Art Woodworking and $100,000 to Selective Insurance.

Clemons pleaded guilty on August 14, 2014 to wire fraud.

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the FBI, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Knight, who represented the United States in this case. 

Updated July 23, 2015