St. Croix Woman Charged with Federal Program Theft and Money Laundering
St. Croix, USVI – Kira Lee Encarnacion, 40, of St. Croix, was arraigned today in District Court on a criminal indictment charging her with federal program theft and money laundering, United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced.
According to the indictment, Encarnacion was employed as a bookkeeper by the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix (WCSC), a non-profit organization that provides assistance and advocacy to women, children and men who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes. The indictment alleges that as part of her duties, Encarnacion issued payments to the organization’s vendors using an accounting software program. According to the indictment, Encarnacion circumvented the WCSC’s internal financial controls and fraudulently caused numerous checks to be issued to her. She then deposited the checks into an off-island bank account using a "Mobile Deposit" application.
If convicted of federal program theft, Encarnacion faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of money laundering, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tasheika Hinson.
The public is reminded that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.