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Indiana woman gets 3 years for stealing $540K from employer

June 26, 2020 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indianapolis woman has been sentenced to three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to stealing more than a half million dollars from a small business and using the money to buy jewelry and pay for trips to Aruba.

Kenya Dake, 51, was sentenced Thursday to a 37-month prison term by a federal judge in Indianapolis. Court records show that she had pleaded guilty Wednesday to wire fraud and money laundering, The Indianapolis Star reported.

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Dake must also serve three years of supervised release, forfeit property seized by authorities and repay the money that she had stolen.

Government investigators found that Dake funneled nearly $540,000 in company funds to herself over more than four years while working as the controller and office manager for a small local consulting firm. Prosecutors said she connected her personal bank accounts to fake “vendors” that she had created in the company’s bookkeeping system.

By the time the scheme was discovered last year, Dake had used much of the money for multiple trips to Aruba, to buy a sport-utility vehicle and diamond and platinum jewelry, and pay for various personal expenses.

“Through her embezzlement, Ms. Dake took advantage of her position and her employer’s trust for her own personal criminal gain. Theft such as this is unacceptable and today’s sentence clearly shows that cooking the books never pays off in the long run,” Robert “Alex” Middleton, the acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis office, said in a news release.

Federal agents seized the SUV, much of the jewelry and over $50,000 from two different bank accounts.