CHARLOTTE, NC—An Indian Trail woman charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return was sentenced today to serve 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release following incarceration, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. also ordered the defendant to make restitution payments of $727,584 to victim Yamauchi Corporation and $203,725 to the IRS.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division.
In June 2011, Beth Ann Cox, 51, of Indian Trail, N.C. was charged with and pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false income tax return. According to court documents, from 2003 to 2009 Cox engaged in a scheme to defraud her employer, Yamauchi Corporation (“Yamauchi”), where she was employed as an administrative assistant. Court documents indicate that Cox had full access to Yamauchi’s operating company bank account and handled payroll transactions and money transfers for the company.
Court records indicate that beginning in July 2003, Cox used her access to Yamauchi’s bank account to make unauthorized wire transfers from the company’s account to pay off balances on her personal lines of credit. Those unauthorized wire transfers totaled over $447,000. In addition to the wire transfers, Cox forged company checks made out to her name and, in turn, falsely logged the fraudulent checks as commissions, bonuses, or tuition payments. The forged checks totaled $270,937 payable to Cox. As part of her plea agreement, Cox has admitted that at no time was she authorized to make those wire transfers or issue those checks. According to court documents and today’s sentencing proceedings, Cox received at least $727,570 from the fraudulent scheme; however, the tax returns Cox filed for the relevant time period did not reflect that additional income.
“Corporate fraud and embezzlement have devastating effects on the financial health of the victim companies. Individuals engaged in such conduct undermine the livelihood of working families in our community. My office is committed to holding these individuals accountable for this serious crime,” said U.S. Attorney Tompkins.
“Ms. Cox embezzled funds from her employer and then tried to hide the income from the IRS,” said IRS Special Agent in Charge Hammett. “People who attempt to hide income can and will be prosecuted.”
Cox will be allowed to self-report to begin service of her prison term once the Federal Bureau of Prisons has designated a federal facility where she will serve her sentence. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by IRS and FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark T. Odulio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.