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Seattle – A 40–year-old Kent, Washington, woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to three years in prison for wire fraud and tax fraud related to a 10-year embezzlement scheme, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Christin Guillory, an Accounting Manager at an Everett-based manufacturing company, stole more than $2.5 million from her employer by transferring funds to accounts Guillory set up in the names of fake companies, and then routing the funds to her own bank accounts. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez noted that Guillory’s theft was driven by drug addiction but added, “you’ve known your entire life that you had an addiction issue, but you never took any steps on your own to deal with it.”
“Ms. Guillory betrayed colleagues who were also her friends,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Gorman. “For nine years she engaged in a meticulous scheme to hide her theft. Over those nine years, she deliberately chose to steal from the company 867 times. And she did it while working side-by-side with colleagues who trusted her.”
According to records in the case, in April 2013, Guillory set up an account with payment processor Square that used a display name that made it appear it was an account of a commercial shipping company. Between 2014 and 2019, Guillory secretly paid $1,695,591 to that account and then transferred the money to her own bank accounts. She made false entries in the company books to conceal the theft.
In 2019, Guillory stopped using Square for her fraud and instead used two PayPal accounts. She gave one of the PayPal accounts a display name similar to that of her employer. For the second account, she used the name of a shipping company with which she had no affiliation. In 2020 and 2021, she orchestrated the transfer of $604,000 to the PayPal accounts and made false accounting entries to cover her tracks. She then transferred the bulk of the money for her own use. Becoming more brazen, between August and November 2021, Guillory transferred $247,000 directly from company accounts to her own bank accounts. Again, she made fraudulent accounting entries and reused legitimate invoices to make it appear the payments were for appropriate business purposes. In all, Guillory made at least 867 secret transactions using interstate wires that totaled $2,536,086.
The scheme was detected when a financial institution reported irregularities.
Guillory used the stolen money to support her prescription drug addiction.
Writing to the court, Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson noted that the theft betrayed the trust of those Guillory worked with. “The Victim company and its management and employees entrusted Guillory with access to its corporate funds..... Guillory worked closely with (company leaders) and other colleagues each day for years. The whole time Guillory knew she was secretly stealing, placing the company’s financial security – and her colleagues’ jobs - at risk.”
Guillory also filed false tax returns, failing to report the more than $2.5 million in income she embezzled. For example, for the tax year 2019, Guillory represented that her income was $38,022, but failed to report the $615,392 in income she received that year from her embezzlement. In all, Guillory failed to pay $590,850 that she owed in taxes.
Judge Martinez ordered restitution of $2,536,086 to the company, and $590,850 to the U.S. Treasury. He directed that she be on three years of supervised release to follow prison.
“Though sometimes undetected for years, fraud and embezzlement schemes have real consequences for all involved,” said Special Agent in Charge Adam Jobes, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS:CI), Seattle Field Office. “Ms. Guillory’s sentencing today is continued proof that IRS:CI is committed to investigating unjust fraud wherever it may occur.”
“Ms. Guillory carried out her embezzlement for years, ultimately stealing more than $2.5 million from her employer” said Richard A. Collodi, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “She endeavored to cover up her actions and violated the trust, not only of her employer, but also of people who considered her a friend. I appreciate the work of our investigators and those of our partners who finally brought an end to her scheme.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service: Criminal Investigation (IRS:CI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.