A former Accounting Specialist has been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud for embezzling more than $270,000 from her former employer WFYI Public Media, which provides television and radio programming throughout Central Indiana.
As an Accounting Specialist, the 52-year-old had access to her company’s accounting software and was trusted to present legitimate expenses, claims, invoices, and supporting documentation along with the unsigned company checks to employees who had signature authority for their approval and signature.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the former Accounting Specialist began working for WFYI in January 2018. The DOJ said she had abused her position of trust, and presented at least 156 fake claims and invoices for payment. The 52-year-old is said to have had a co-conspirator, whose name is being withheld by the DOJ, who was neither an employee or a vendor of the Public Media company.
With the help of her co-conspirator, Federal authorities believe the former Accounting Specialist agreed to falsify invoices using versions of the co-conspirator’s name and businesses connected to her. Payments from the invoices were deposited in the co-conspirator’s bank account. The co-conspirator then withdrew the cash and split it with the 52-year-old.
If convicted, the former Accounting Specialist could face up to 20 years in prison.
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Prevent This From Happening To YOU!
Invoice fraud can be a real danger to organizations and should not be ignored. You may feel that your accounts payable process is airtight. However, the post-pandemic increase in the remote workforce can reduce an organization’s control over AP processes. Below are a few tips that will help reduce the risk of your company falling victim:
- Employ 3-Way Matching – If you can match each invoice to a purchase order and receipt of goods or services, then you’re much less likely to pay a fraudulent invoice.
- Watch Invoice Amounts – Amounts on invoices can provide clues that the invoice isn’t on the up-and-up.
- Keep Up Morale – Invoice fraud can come from inside the company or from an outside source. Happy employees are unlikely to commit fraud and more likely to catch fraud from outside sources.
- Check on Vendors – Fraudulent invoices are typically issued under fake business names or by the use of a legitimate name with a fake address or bank account number. You’ll want to look up any new vendors to make sure they’re legitimate and find the address on Google maps.
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