Bookkeeper Sentenced for Embezzling $1.7 Million in Client Funds
HOUSTON – A local woman has been ordered to federal prison following her conviction of 12 counts of mail and wire fraud and four counts of filing a false tax return, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Gwendolyn M. Berry pleaded guilty Feb. 5, 2018.
Today, U.S. District Judge Gray Miller handed Berry a 51-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. Berry was ordered to pay $1,820,858.40 in restitution to her fraud victims and an additional $344,268 in restitution to the IRS.
At the hearing, Judge Miller determined Berry used sophisticated means in carry out her scheme to defraud and abused her position of trust. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that Berry engaged in this criminal activity over many years and took measures to conceal her misappropriation of funds.
Berry embezzled more than $1.8 million from a family’s bank accounts by writing checks on their accounts to pay her personal bills and those of family members.
Berry also pleaded guilty to filing false federal tax returns for the tax years 2011 through 2014. In each of those tax returns, Berry omitted reporting the money she embezzled from her victims.
Berry was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The U.S. Secret Service and IRS - Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the case.