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Press Release

DeRidder woman pleads guilty to stealing more than $1.3 million from her employer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a DeRidder woman pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.3 million from her employer.

Lisa H. Ernst, 52, of DeRidder, La., entered a conditional guilty plea for one count of wire fraud to U.S. Magistrate Judge Kathleen Kay.  The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi. According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, Ernst stole $1,351,259.86 from Amerisafe in Deridder, La., where she was employed from May 13, 2003 to March 4, 2014 in various capacities in the accounting department, including as an assistant manager. She made approximately 142 direct interbank transfers from the company’s bank account to her personal bank accounts. In addition to taking the money, she made false representations to company personnel in order to secure approval for the bank transfers, and then after transferring the money, she fabricated documents to conceal fraudulent transactions.

Ernst faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine and restitution.  A sentencing date of July 16, 2015 was set.

The FBI and the DeRidder Police Department conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph T. Mickel and David C. Joseph are prosecuting the case.

Updated February 29, 2016