KC Woman Sentenced for Embezzling $366,000 from Client
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that an employee for a Kansas City, Mo., accounting firm has been sentenced in federal court for embezzling more than $366,000 from one of the firm’s clients.
Julie A. Hughes, 45, of Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, to two years and six months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Hughes to pay $425,250 in restitution.
On Feb. 12, 2015, Hughes pleaded guilty to receiving stolen money that had crossed state lines and to making a false statement on a tax return.
Hughes worked as an accountant for Professional Accounting Systems. As part of her job, Hughes was assigned to prepare and distribute payroll for Pathfinder Systems, a client of the firm. Hughes embezzled $366,453 from Pathfinder Systems by directing payroll to a fictional employee she created on a bank account she controlled. Hughes conducted 167 fraudulent transactions from October 2011 to November 2013 and transferred most of the funds to other bank accounts she controlled for her personal use.
According to court documents, a bookkeeper found discrepancies in bookkeeping records in November 2013 and brought them to the attention of the company’s president. They showed the discrepancies to the company’s owner and Hughes, who appeared nervous and could not answer questions as to where the money had gone. Hughes was confronted by the owner about the missing money again on a later date, and she admitted to stealing from the company’s client, Pathfinder Systems. Her employer repaid Pathfinder Systems. He reported that her thefts had a significant impact on his small business.
Hughes also admitted that she did not report the embezzled money as income on her federal income tax returns, resulting in a tax loss to the government of $58,797.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Mahoney. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service.