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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 15, 2021

Ontario County Woman Going To Prison For Stealing Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars From Her Employer

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Karen Owens, 55, of Phelps, NY, who was convicted of wire fraud, was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. Owens was also ordered to pay $607,672.71 in restitution.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan K. McGuire, who handled the case, stated that the defendant was employed by Finger Lakes Conveyors, Inc. (FLC) as its Director of Finance from 2003 to 2017. As such, Owens had authority to write and issue checks from FLC's bank account in order to pay legitimate business expenses to FLC's vendors and creditors. The defendant also had an obligation to record the details of each check she wrote and issued on behalf of FLC timely and accurately - including check date, check number, and payee - in FLC's QuickBooks accounting records.

Between June 2, 2011, and August 24, 2017, the defendant wrote and issued approximately 394 checks payable to herself from FLC's account. Owens deposited the checks into an account which she owned and over which she had control. In addition, between August 30, 2010, and August 24, 2017, the defendant wrote and issued approximately 162 checks payable to J.P. Morgan Chase Bank from FLC's bank account as payments on Chase Bank credit card accounts belonging to the defendant and her husband. In order to conceal some of the fraudulent and unauthorized checks, Owens failed accurately to record the checks in FLC's QuickBooks accounting record; instead, she falsely recorded the checks as payment for legitimate business expenses.

Owens wrote checks totaling more than $750,000.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated January 15, 2021