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Press Release

Hickory, N.C. Woman Is Charged With Embezzling More Than $900,000 From Employer

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte has returned a criminal indictment, charging Michelle Wilshire, 48, of Hickory, N.C., with multiple counts of wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering, for allegedly embezzling more than $900,000 from her employer, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

U.S. Attorney King is joined in making today’s announcement by Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Charlotte Field Office, and Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which oversees Charlotte.

According to allegations in the indictment, from 2016 to 2021, Wilshire was employed by a family-owned business located in Conover, N.C., identified in court documents as Company A. During the relevant time, Wilshire was in charge of Company A’s Comdata account – a third-party payment processing and debit card issuing service – which Company A used for fleet management and payment services for its drivers. The indictment alleges that Wilshire executed a scheme to defraud her employer by issuing multiple Comdata prepaid debit cards in her name and in the names of other individuals, including former employees, fictitious employees, and current employees who were not aware the cards existed. Wilshire allegedly caused Comdata to load funds onto the prepaid debit cards, which the defendant then withdrew via ATM cash withdrawals. Between November 2017, and July 2021, Wilshire allegedly withdrew more than $528,000 from prepaid Comdata debit cards.

In addition to the debit card scheme, Wilshire allegedly embezzled Company A’s funds by using Comdata’s Comchek and Comchek Mobile services to issue checks in the defendant’s name and to make multiple wire transfers into Wilshire’s personal bank account, totaling over $315,000. Wilshire also allegedly caused more than $58,000 of Company A’s funds to be transferred through Comdata into the bank account of a former company employee.

According to allegations in the indictment, Wilshire also prepared and filed individual income tax returns for tax years 2017 through 2021, which did not include the additional funds Wilshire received through her embezzlement scheme.

Wilshire is charged with six counts of wire fraud, which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count; five counts of making and subscribing a false tax return, which carry a statutory maximum term of one year in prison per count; and two counts of money laundering which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction.

The charges in the indictment are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Wilshire’s initial court appearance in Charlotte has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 29, 2023, at 10:15 a.m.

In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney King thanked IRS-CI and USPIS for their investigation of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mike Savage and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Frick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte are prosecuting the case. 

Updated August 16, 2023

Financial Fraud