Nevada Woman Sentenced for Stealing $336,000 from Her Employer
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nevada, Mo., woman was sentenced in federal court today for a bank fraud scheme in which she embezzled more than $336,000 from her employer and failed to pay taxes on the stolen money.
Patricia Culbertson, 52, of Nevada, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to two years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Culbertson to pay $412,022 in restitution to the business and to the government.
On Dec. 4, 2014, Culbertson pleaded guilty to bank fraud and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Culbertson’s four-year-long criminal scheme started just a few years after being released from state probation for trafficking in illegal narcotics.
Culbertson worked for Barrington Manufacturing Corporation (a subsidiary of Hammond Sheet Metal) as a book keeper from June 2009 until she was suspended on June 24, 2014. Her fraud scheme began within six months of being hired. Culbertson admitted that she forged the company owner’s signature on checks from the company’s bank account without authorization in order to cover her gambling debts and for other personal expenses.
On hundreds of occasions, Culbertson stole the identity of various company officials, forged their signatures, and wrote unauthorized checks on the company's operating account and a separate account created to provide financial assistance to her fellow employees. The checks were either deposited into Culbertson’s personal bank account, the bank accounts of her mother and son, or the bank account of her company, PC Tech.
Culbertson’s criminal conduct continued when she realized her fraud had been discovered. In July of 2014, agents spoke with Culbertson at her home and they observed Barrington's financial records that had been removed from the business office. Agents immediately seized and preserved those financial records. After completing their investigation, agents determined that Culbertson destroyed and stole financial documents in an effort to conceal the true scope of her crimes.
Culbertson also admitted that she failed to report this embezzled income on her federal income tax returns for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Culbertson’s actions resulted in a total tax loss to the federal government (without penalties and interest) of $60,431. The total tax loss to the state of Missouri (without penalties and interest) was $14,754.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the El Dorado Springs, Mo., Police Department.