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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pineville Woman Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison For Stealing Money From Former Employer

United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District Of North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – U.S. District Judge Robert J. Conrad, Jr. handed down a 15-month prison sentence to a Pineville woman today for stealing money from her former employer, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Joan Elliott, 69, of Pineville, was also ordered to serve three years under court supervision and to pay $406,929 as restitution.

Russell F. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Charlotte Field Division joins U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.

According to court to documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Elliott was employed as a bookkeeper by a Charlotte-based association representing the lumber and building material industry. Court records show that among Elliott’s responsibilities were issuing company checks to pay business expenses and depositing to the company’s bank account check payments for administrative fees from the insurance company used by members of the association. According to court filings, from 2006 to 2009, Elliott used company checks to pay for personal expenses, falsely representing that the funds were used as payment of legitimate business expenses.

Court records indicate that during the same time period, Elliott further defrauded her employer by failing to deposit to her employer’s bank account checks sent by the company’s insurance company. Instead, records show, Elliott used those checks to pay for personal expenses, by taking the checks to the bank and directing the bank to rewrite official bank checks for the same amounts that Elliott then used toward personal expenditures. Elliott fraudulently obtained between $200,000 and $400,000 from her former employer, court records indicate. According to today’s sentencing hearing, Elliott used some of the stolen funds to pay for, among other things, a car, furniture, and spa visits. Elliott pleaded guilty in January 2013 to one count of forged securities.

Elliott has been released on bond and will be allowed to self-report to begin serving her prison term once the Federal Bureau of Prisons has designated a federal facility. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The investigation was handled by the U.S. Secret Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jenny G. Sugar of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

Updated March 19, 2015