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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Former employee with the City of Cherryville, Jennifer Neal Hoyle, was sentenced to serve 12 months and a day in prison today for embezzling over $92,900 in city funds, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. In January 2013, Hoyle, 36, of Cherryville, pleaded guilty to three felony charges of program fraud, stemming from a joint federal and state investigation into misappropriated city funds.
John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division, Greg McLeod, Director of the State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI), and Chief James W. Buie of the Gaston County Police Department join U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. presided over the sentencing and ordered Hoyle to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of her sentence and to pay $92,922.55 as restitution to the city.
According to filed court documents and court proceedings, Hoyle was a Senior Customer Service Representative/Utility Supervisor for the City of Cherryville, responsible for collecting and posting utility payments made by customers. Court records indicate that beginning in January 2008 through May 2011, Hoyle embezzled approximately $92,922 from the City of Cherryville by stealing some cash payments made by utilities customers paying their bills. Court records show that Hoyle took the customers’ cash payments, issued paper receipts, credited the customers’ accounts with the payment and kept the cash. Then, using her supervisory override privileges, Hoyle deleted the transaction from the computer system. Court records also show that, in order to avoid any potential customer complaints, Hoyle created entries in the “extra charge” journal, in which she “wrote off” the cash amount the customers had paid, so that when bills were generated they would not include the embezzled amount. According to court records, Hoyle’s fraud was uncovered when a customer questioned the duplicate charges on her bill and brought in her paper receipt as proof of payment, after Hoyle had failed to convert the customer’s cash payment as a “write off” in the “extra charge” journal. Hoyle was terminated from her position in May 2012.
Hoyle was ordered to self-report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving her sentence upon designation of a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation into Hoyle was handled by the FBI, SBI and the Gaston County Police Department. The prosecution is handled by Michael Savage, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.