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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Louisiana

Friday, July 17, 2015

DeRidder woman sentenced to 51 months in prison for stealing more than $1.3 million from company

LAKE CHARLES, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a DeRidder woman was sentenced Thursday to 51 months in prison for stealing more than $1.3 million from her former employer.

Lisa H. Ernst, 52, of DeRidder, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi on one count of wire fraud. She was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,351,259.86 in restitution. According to evidence presented at the March 31, 2015 guilty plea, Ernst stole $1,351,259.86 from a company located in Deridder where she worked 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 her subordinates and supervisors in order to secure approval for the bank transfers, and then after transferring the money, she fabricated documents to conceal fraudulent transactions.

“Ms. Ernst abused the position of trust that was given to her by her employer, a company that made significant contributions to our community,” Finley stated. “Now she will spend the better part of the next five years in prison paying for her crime. This sentence should serve as a deterrent to others tempted to make easy money through corporate theft.”

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

Updated February 29, 2016