A 52-year-old Bothell, Washington woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to three years in prison and five years of supervised release for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for a five-year scheme in which she cashed 306 fraudulent checks, totaling $400,526 and drawn on the bank accounts of her employer. ERIN K. McCAULEY, also known as ERIN K. CHARLES, was a trusted part-time employee of a Lynnwood, Washington property management firm. The firm managed a number of commercial properties and a contracting business. It was owned by a couple who brought McCAULEY on in 2004 to assist with the book-keeping. As early as 2012, McCAULEY began writing large checks to herself and forging the owners signatures. At the sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said “she stole a significant amount of money from a small company and it greatly impacted that business.”
According to records filed in the case, McCAULEY had become a trusted employee of the couple as they entered their 60’s and 70’s. They gave McCAULEY gifts, assisted her with car and house payments and made sure she got an annual bonus. In 2017 for example, the couple loaned McCAULEY $8,000 for home repairs. It appears now they were repaid with some of the $400,000 that was stolen from their own accounts.
When the couple became aware of the theft, they worked with the FBI to see if McCAULEY would admit the embezzlement. She vastly underestimated the amount of money she had embezzled, and acknowledged much of the money had gone to feed her gambling addiction.
In asking for a four-year prison sentence prosecutors wrote to the court McCAULEY “wanted money that she did not have in order to live a lifestyle should could not afford. To do so, she took advantage of her position as the trusted office manager and bookkeeper for the (couple) and used their business accounts as her personal “piggy bank” to fund the lifestyle she wanted to live.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Hobbs.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.