Lebanon woman sentenced for embezzlement

The misappropriation of company funds is a crime that can cause grave consequences and many serious legal penalties, which can leave a stain on a person's professional career. Often treated as a federal crime, embezzlement allegations arise from multiple acts of theft from the same source, like an employer or an individual.

Recently in Eugene, a federal judge sentenced a woman to prison after she was convicted of embezzling about $848,000 of her employer's money by using her influence and access to funds that were available in several different corporate accounts.

According to sources, the woman pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud. A judge sentences her to 27 months in federal prison as well as three years supervised release, and the judge issued an order for the woman to pay restitution in the amount of $848,156.

Through federal investigations that ran from 2005 to 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged that the woman made $540,000 in payments through online systems, cutting checks directly to herself, wire transferring funds and even skimming off the petty cash fund. The woman used some of the money to pay off her personal credit card expenses used to purchase items online. She also allegedly forged checks by copying the signature of the company's president to divert another $293,000.

Under Oregon law, anyone found to have stolen $10,000 or more in a single transaction, or over a number of transactions, can be found guilty of a Class B felony -- aggravated theft in the first degree. This felony carries a heavy penalty, which includes prison and fines. Most people accused of this type of crime are professionals without prior criminal history. A limited criminal history can lead to a much lower sentence. Also, it is possible to settle the matter with a civil agreement that would prevent any future prosecution that could further damage the employee's career.

Anyone accused of embezzlement might consider speaking with an experienced Oregon legal professional who can advise the individual of his or her rights and options going forward.

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