KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Bucyrus, Kan., woman was indicted by a federal grand jury today for embezzling more than $543,000 from her employer.
Susan Elise Prophet, 45, of Bucyrus, was charged in a 16-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
Prophet worked as a bookkeeper for Dorfman Plumbing Supply Company in Kansas City, Mo., from December 2012 until she was fired eight months later in August 2013. (The company has since been sold to Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., a national distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies.) Prophet was known to her employer as “Susan Morriss.” She touted that she was the wife of a federal law enforcement agent, which was true at or close to the time she was hired (Morriss is the last name of her now-estranged husband).
According to the indictment, Prophet engaged in a scheme to embezzle at least $543,034 from Dorfman Plumbing Supply Company that began soon after she was hired and continued until she was fired. Prophet allegedly wrote 105 unauthorized checks drawn on the company’s bank account for her benefit. Prophet was not an authorized signatory for the company, so she forged the owner’s signature on each of the checks.
Prophet allegedly opened multiple bank accounts using a bogus Social Security number and a misspelled variation of her last name. She paid her personal creditors with the checks, cashed the checks or deposited them into her personal accounts, the indictment says. Among those checks, the indictment says, were two checks payable directly to her landlord. She allegedly used the funds for her personal enrichment, purchasing trucks, a car, a motorcycle, travel, furniture, electronics, and other items. She also withdrew large amounts of cash, according to the indictment.
In addition to the fraudulently-opened bank accounts, the indictment alleges that Prophet took other steps to conceal her scheme, such as altering the company’s financial records. According to the indictment, Prophet altered the company’s ledger to show that vendors had been paid when, in fact, they had not been paid. When vendors attempted to collect, Prophet allegedly answered the calls and hid the claims from her employer. As vendors began to freeze the company’s accounts, the indictment says, Prophet created new checks and forged her employer’s name on the checks to pay the most critical invoices.
According to the indictment, Prophet spent at least $130,424 on vehicle-related purchases, including a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport; a 2013 Harley Davidson FLTRX Road Glide motorcycle; a 2008 Ford Focus; a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe; and a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. She allegedly shared the vehicles with her boyfriend and adult children. Prophet withdrew at least $86,000 from her accounts, the indictment says, and wrote nearly $21,000 in checks to herself or to cash. She allegedly used the embezzled funds to pay her rent and pay down her debts, and allegedly spent at least $15,096 at restaurants, $12,743 on travel, $6,703 on electronics, and $9,221 at Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Today’s indictment charges Prophet with two counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and 11 counts of aggravated identity theft.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Prophet to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged violations, including a money judgment of $543,034 the five vehicles.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.